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To discourage the desecration of memorials by thieves and robbers the coalition is coming up with a new law.

Date: (28 May 2012)    |    

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The conservative backbencher Richard Ottaway had won Government support for a plan which would make it more difficult for dealers to buy scrap metal discouraging such thefts from churches, war memorials, railways and other sources. Thefts for scrap from these sources have seen soaring to record levels in the current year.

The MP for Croydon South would introduce a Private Member’s Bill to tackle the problem, which has left communities across the country devastated by the loss of plaques and passengers infuriated by train services disrupted by thefts.
Last week, Sir George Young, Leader of the House of Commons, suggested that ministers were looking at tougher punishments for dealers who were buying the plaques and melting them.
He said that the Government was seriously considering to see whether any such steps could be taken where the penalties could be increased and have a better regulatory regime of scrap metal, he said.
Efforts to bring in a new law come just days after an MP condemned thieves who robbed scrap metal from his father’s grave.
Gavin Barwell, MP for Croydon Central, used Twitter to threaten a "scumbag" thief who stole the memorial.
The plaque was taken from his father's grave in Beckenham cemetery, along with several other metal memorials.
Mr Barwell wrote on the micro-blogging website, saying, "To the scumbag who took the plaque from my Dad's grave: if I ever find out who you are, you are going to regret it."
He later said he tweeted the threat only five minutes after finding out about it from his mother Jennifer, who was very "distressed".
The Scrap Metal Dealer’s Actv1964 would see some vital changes in its provisions to curb the menace of memorial thefts.
Of late across the UK, public buildings, memorials, churches, transport and telecommunication infrastructure were being increasingly targeted by metal thieves who sold the stolen material, often through scrap metal dealers, Mr Ottaway said.
The financial cost, distress and misery caused to residents, commuters, insurers, and utility and energy companies were enormous.