ERITH and Thamesmead’s MP has backed a parliamentary bill to curb "sickening" metal thefts from public buildings and monuments.

Teresa Pearce served on the bill committee for the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill which received its third and final reading in the House of Lords on February 12.

After passing its final parliamentary hurdle, the legislation will seek to regulate the £5.6bn scrap metal industry which is the principal outlet for stolen metal.

The bill proposes a licensing scheme accounting for all scrap metal sales; fines for serious breaches of the act; cashless trading for all scrap metal dealers and more powers to help police close down rogue traders.

Ms Pearce said: "Metal theft is no petty crime.

"We hear regular reports of metal thefts that target our energy, transport and telecommunications infrastructure, cutting off power and vital services to communities and putting people’s lives in danger.

"Even more sickening are the attacks on our churches, crematoriums and war memorials.

"It is particularly fitting that the bill will make it onto the statute books in the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the First World War."