Laws needed to discourage metal theft, says TD

Tighter regulation of scrap metal and cash for gold type schemes are needed to prevent an increase in the theft of precious metals, like the theft of two religious crosses from Holy Cross Abbey.

The call has come from South Tipp Deputy Mattie McGrath, who says the theft of the true cross relic from Holy Cross Abbey, last week, could have been such a robbery.

“I am calling on the Minister for Justice to introduce legislation similar to Asay’s Bill passed in the State of Washington to deal with this problem before we witness even more robberies of items that have far more sentimental value than the cash that they may be sold for, such as the two crosses stolen from Holy Cross Abbey last week,” said Deputy McGrath.

That legislation provides for increased record keeping by pawn brokers, making it harder for stolen jewellery and metals to be sold on.

Deputy McGrath says similar legislation is needed in Ireland “as a matter of urgency.”

“In recent weeks and months we have witnessed an increased number of house robberies with gold jewellery being the main target, we have also witnessed metal of all sorts being stolen and sold for cash. This industry has to be regulated to prevent these thieves from being able to sell on stolen goods in broad daylight,” he said.

“It is unacceptable that stolen goods can be sold on to shops or scarp yards without any come back. Simple regulations to ensure that there is a full record kept of those selling the goods for cash to ensure that there can be a follow up if stolen goods are discovered and a database of goods sold within the industry could also be helpful to assist the Gardaí in their search for stolen goods.

“For nearly every activity now it is necessary to provide photo identification and proof of address and I don’t see why these requirements can not be extended to scrap yards and cash for gold stores. We have over regulated so many of our industries yet this is industry is wide open to abuse. I am sure that many of these scrap yards and cash for gold stores are very genuine businesses but with the increased amount of robberies there needs to be some form of regulation to ensure that if stolen goods are found on their property they can be linked back to the person that sold them.”