Scrap metal yards were targeted in Croydon recently as authorities swooped to tackle the rising problem of illegal wastage and catalytic converter thefts in the region.
The Environment Agency (EA) joined officers from the British Transport Police (BTP) in a multi-faceted operation over several days that focused on Croydon and Dover in particular.
Their primary target was the vehicle and metal recycling industry, which has been linked the criminality of various kinds including the rampant theft of catalytic converter thefts in south London in recent years.
Officers from the EA are now “currently investigating one site found to be illegal where they are carrying out enforcement action to improve compliance with regulations,” a spokesperson said.
“The intelligence-led visits were part of a wider BTP operation targeting the theft of cabling and vehicle catalytic converters, which has been rising across the South East this year,” they added.
A surge in the value of metals included in catalytic converters, such as rhodium, platinum and palladium, are linked with a rise in their theft in the region.
Matt Higginson, environment manager at the EA, said “unscrupulous” metal yards taking in stolen catalytic converters only fuelled the crime further:
“This should serve as a warning to those who would flout the law that we and our partners are rooting out waste crime and we won’t hesitate to take action.
“Unscrupulous scrap metal sites are accepting stolen catalytic converters and cabling, further fuelling their theft across the South East.
“Joint investigations and enforcement will continue and if convicted, those responsible could face extensive fines and even prison sentences.”