A metal theft summit took place yesterday (Thursday 31 October) in the Scottish Parliament to bring together the industries, organisations and businesses affected by the crime and to hear from Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill MSP, about proposed changes to Scottish legislation.
Metal theft reached an average 21 per day last year and continues to cause damage and destruction to the networks across the UK. Tough new laws were brought in to tackle the crime in England and Wales but there needs to be equally strong legislation here in Scotland too.
Stuart McMillan MSP, who is hosting the summit and has campaigned for a change in the laws governing scrap metal in Scotland for many years will open the roundtable saying: “I’m delighted that a large number of industries and organisations are able to attend this discussion.”
Frank Mitchell, Chief Executive of Scottish Power Energy Networks said: “It is a misconception that stealing metal from a substation or a power line is a victimless crime. This year alone we have seen one attempted theft result in a fatality and a number of properties are affected by voltage fluctuations causing damage in homes and tens of thousands of other properties have suffered interruptions to their power supplies. We are pleased that the Scottish Government has the issue of metal theft high on their agenda, and we look forward to meeting with Kenny MacAskill at the metal theft summit to talk about the issues and discuss how new legislation could help to reduce incidents.”
Rodney Grubb, Head of Operations North for Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution said: “Metal theft from electricity networks is not just illegal, but is extremely dangerous and irresponsible, placing the lives of the general public, the culprit and our staff at risk, not to mention the disruption it causes customers who could find themselves without power as a result. We therefore strongly support and welcome the Scottish Government’s intention to introduce new legislation aimed at preventing this dangerous crime.”