A County Durham man has pleaded guilty to trading as a scrap metal dealer without a licence.
Daniel Foreman, who has since obtained a licence, was dealt with at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court following a prosecution by Durham County Council.
The 23-year-old, of Redworth Road in Shildon, admitted an offence under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.
The court heard that licensing officers from the council investigated Foreman after becoming aware of roadside advertising for scrap cars in June last year.
They traced the telephone number on the adverts to DF Vehicle Recycling and Recovery, with further checks revealing recovery vehicles linked to the firm were registered under Foreman’s name and address.
Officers followed-up by visiting scrap yards in the county found that at one yard, Foreman had weighed in £32,678 worth of scrap metal between January and September last year.
They also established that two warning letters relating to collecting scrap without a licence had already been sent to Foreman’s address in 2020.
When interviewed under caution, Foreman told officers he buys and sells cars and scraps the cars that he can’t sell but was unable to provide evidence of any vehicles being sold.
After pleading guilty, he was given a 12 months’ conditional discharge and ordered to pay £220 costs as well as a £22 victim surcharge.
In mitigation, Foreman’s defence said he did try to ensure he had the necessary licence and successfully obtained one in November last year, though he accepts he traded during a period in which he did not have the licence.
They said the earlier warning letters had been addressed to a business operated by his father, and that Foreman had contacted the council and been told he had the correct licence, though there is no record of such a conversation taking place.
Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public protection manager, said: “The simple message here is that anyone who wants to operate as a scrap metal dealer must obtain a licence first.
“It’s the same across the country. The requirement to obtain a licence was introduced as part of national legislation designed to regulate the industry and to protect the public and businesses from scrap metal theft.
“Those who operate as scrap metal dealers without a licence are committing an offence, and also gaining an unfair advantage over people who get a licence and trade legitimately. There’s no excuse for it.
“We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind people that when disposing of any scrap metal, they should always check that the person or business that is collecting it from them has a licence.”
For more information about the licensing of scrap metal dealers, visit the council’s website www.durham.gov.uk/licensing.