ALTHOUGH business is not as good as it once was, a Channel 4 documentary shows how for one Sydenham company the streets are still paved with copper, brass and iron.
Packed with old sinks, pots, pans, wrecked televisions, crushed cars, washing machines, window frames, chairs and lamps, the Sydenham Scrap Metals yard in Kangley Bridge Road, Sydenham, turns over 200 tonnes of scrap metal each week.
This turnover means managing director Michael Longford makes millions from buying metal and selling it on to be recycled, paying out around £60,000 a week to the self-employed army of scrappers.
And now the business is set to be featured in a Channel 4 documentary called Getting Rich In The Recession: Scrappers.
One of the scrappers featured on the show is former criminal gang member Adam (pictured above) who started out in the business after finding it difficult to get a job when he was released from prison.
When he was 18 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for burglary, theft and possessing a prohibited weapon and was released three years ago after serving half of his sentence.
Nowadays he gets up early to beat his competitors to the scrap like old printers and radiators dumped on the streets of south London overnight.
This pays off as the 26-year-old makes up to £800 a day, and earns around £100,000 a year.
Despite these kind of earnings, Mr Longford says business is not as good as around four years ago when he turned over around £10m.
Last year this figure was closer to £7m.
The 31-year-old said: “I have a nice car and people only see that I have a nice car but they don’t see you up until four in the morning worrying about things.
“One week you could have two or three good days and then have some slow days.”
Mr Longford, who has been working at the family-run firm since he was 14, now employs a team of nine including his partner Rachel Holder.
He added: “I would like to give her a lot of credit because she has helped me more than other people realise or know.”
Getting Rich In The Recession: Scrappers is on Channel 4 at 9pm on Thursday (November 28).