NEW changes in the law surrounding scrap metal have already seen one arrest as Bexley police crackdown on criminals in the trade.

New legislation has been introduced this month making it illegal for scrap dealers to buy metal from people for cash.

They will now have to pay with card or cheque and the new law has also increased fines for rule breakers.

Bexley police arrested a 34-year-old man last week on suspicion of handling stolen goods after finding 200 gas cylinders in a shipping container.

Bexley has been blighted by metal theft at war memorials and graves.

Long delays on the rail networks have been caused by people stealing live cables from the railway network.

Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Victor Olisa, said: “We welcome this new legislation which aims to remove the rewards that make metal theft such a low-risk criminal enterprise, both for thieves and unscrupulous scrap metal dealers”.