SCRAP dealers will be vetted by the borough council and have to fork out for licences to operate under new powers aimed at cracking down on metal thefts.
Scrap metal site operators will be charged £300 for a three-year licence, and £300 for renewals in subsequent years, while door-to-door scrap collectors will pay £150 for their three- year licences and renewals.
They will also have to keep records of any scrap metal received or disposed of, carry out stricter identity checks on people from whom they receive scrap metal and will be banned from taking cash payments.
The regulations come into force from November 1 as part of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.
Stafford Borough Council will issue licences and have powers to revoke them and impose conditions, as well as close down unauthorised sites.
In recent years, as the value of scrap metal has soared, there has been a surge of thefts, including lead ripped from church roofs and manhole covers pinched from the roads.
Local buildings which have fallen victim to thieves include Katharine House Hospice and Eccleshall’s Holy Trinity Church. The railway line near Seighford and phone lines at Colton have also been targeted.
Borough councillors backed the new regulations at their Tuesday meeting.
Councillor Mark Winnington said: “Having suffered several thefts this year of scrap metal, stolen from premises in a rural environment, I can only applaud this.There are too many taking every opportunity they can, picking up things that don’t belong to them.”