New law won’t deter metal thieves, says Trail recycler

The new metal theft law in B.C. is proving tougher on paper products than on thieves of precious metals.

The new metal theft law in B.C. is proving tougher on paper products than on thieves of precious metals.

The law, passed last week, is aimed at stemming the flow of transactions involving high-value metals.

The province wants to remove the anonymity involved in the sale of metal by requiring scrap metal dealers and recyclers to request valid identification.

However, instead of cutting crime, Columbia Recycle owner Brad Fyfe said it has only created more paper work.

“We have to fill out two sets of forms and send one copy to the RCMP every night,” explained Fyfe. “If it doesn’t get done we get fined.”

He added the new law also prevents dealers from paying anything worth over $50 in cash. Cheques must be issued for any item above that amount.

Columbia Recycle has been hit by metal thefts in the past, including losing several tools a few months ago. However, no charges have been laid, said Fyfe.

As for the new law, he doesn’t see it stopping the rash of metal theft around the province as commodity prices remain high.

“It won’t (stop it),” said Fyfe. “Because the thefts are after the fact. They have to stop it before it happens.”

He added the law would simply push thieves across the border to sell their bounty

Columbia Recycle has taken steps to be more diligent when it comes to locking up materials after hours and increasing security, explained Fyfe.

However, he pointed to companies like BC Hydro and FortisBC that need take some responsibility for securing its material, which is often easily accessible for thieves.

The B.C. Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act is the first provincial legislation of its kind in Canada, said the Ministry of Justice.

In a ministry release, it stated that over $10 million in copper wire theft alone hit Telus in 2011. Other metals favoured by thieves are aluminum, bronze, brass, lead, nickel, zinc and magnesium.

The regulation also covers specific metal objects like metal traffic control lights, signals and signs, sewer grates, manhole covers and metal grave markers.