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Metal theft considerably falling thanks to tougher regulations

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Prague, Sept 27 (CTK) – The damaged caused by the theft of metals fell by 58 percent and the damage caused to property by 47 percent over the past year, as the Czech Environment Ministry banned cash payment for scrap metal six months ago, the police have said.
Town halls across the Czech Republic also speak positively about the considerable fall in the theft of public property.
However, scrap metal dealers complain about the plummeting number of clients.
Their biggest association disagrees with the legislative changes and is considering taking legal steps against them.
Thieves cause damage worth many millions of crowns to railways, roads, drainage systems and other public property by stealing metal objects from there and selling them at salvage points every year.
On March 1, the Environment Ministry introduced cashless payment for scrap metal.
In addition, an amendment to the waste law will further specify the cashless payment. Now people are to be paid either by mail or to their accounts if they bring scrap metal to the salvage points.
The ministry will evaluate the impact of the legislation in a year or two, Environment Ministry spokeswoman Petra Roubickova has told CTK.
“There has been an obvious improvement. In general, we do not have any major damage to the municipal property, which is reflected by the related crime,” Sarka Swiderova, spokeswoman for the town hall in Karvina, north Moravia, has told CTK.
The town hall faced a serious problem of metal theft. This year, the town hall repeatedly checked the local scrap yards. All of them obeyed the new regulations and paid in the cashless form for the collected metal.
The businesspeople from this industry are against the new system. They argue that the new regulation had not eliminated illegal salvage points, hidden in private yards, that must not be entered by the inspection.
They have newly joined the smugglers from Poland where cash is still paid for scrap metal, a businessman from the industry said.
Moreover, scrap waste is being accumulated in ditches and forests, he added.
Petr Miller, chairman of the biggest association of raw materials dealers, said the regulation had been passed illegally. Since its introduction, the buy-out of metal had plummeted by up to 50 percent, Miller said.
($1 = 24.387 crowns)

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