Ulster Unionist Party East Antrim MLA, Roy Beggs, has welcomed over 60 responses to his consultation on a Scrap Metal Dealers (NI) Bill. The consultation closed on Saturday, alongside news that a spate of metal has occurred over the weekend involving power cables, telephone cables and even a gas leak caused by the theft of copper gas pipes.
Mr Beggs said;
“I’ve been extremely heartened by the volume of responses to my consultation on a Scrap Metal Dealers Bill for Northern Ireland, and I will be working hard to analyse the results over the coming weeks in order to bring swiftly about the introduction of a Bill to the Assembly floor, should the responses deem it necessary.
“From a preliminary overview of the results, it does appear that there is an overwhelming public feeling toward the need for legislation, and this is also supported by the PSNI, Transport NI and NIE.
“As the consultation closes, the need for legislation has once more been highlighted with the news that recently overhead power cables, telephone cables and even a gas piping have been stolen by criminals seeking to profit at the public’s expense. No concern has been shown for the gas leak left behind nor of how the public will have been inconvenienced or put at risk as a result of the loss of power and the loss of telecoms and the emergency response network.
“To saw down wooden poles carrying live electricity cables is an extremely dangerous and foolish thing to do. It risks injury or worse to those who hope to steal the metal, those who are responsible for carrying out the repairs, or passing members of the public.
“When electricity and telecom cables are stolen, vulnerable citizens and struggling businesses can be further put at risk. I would urge members of the public who have seen anything suspicious regarding cable or metal thefts to report information to the Police.
“I will continue to work alongside the relevant bodies, including scrap metal dealers, the PSNI and others to combat the problem of metal theft and I look forward to analysing the results of my consultation in order to bring about the most effective legislation.”