A scrap metal carrier is the first convicted in Wiltshire under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act (2013) for failing to be a registered scrap metal dealer in the county.

Joseph Stewart McPhee was stopped by police in Chippenham on February 18 after a member of the public reported the vehicle and occupants while it was collecting scrap metal in the Yewstock Crescent area of Chippenham.

When stopped, the vehicle being used by Mr McPhee was loaded to such an extent that items at the rear of the van were not visible behind larger objects such as washing machines and engine gearboxes.

Mr McPhee, of Sibbald Brae in Bathgate, Scotland, failed to appear at North West Magistrates' Court, Chippenham, on July 7 and was convicted in his absence.

He was convicted of failing to be registered with the Environment Agency as a waste carrier under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act (1989) and convicted of operating as a scrap metal dealer (collector) in Wiltshire, without being a licensed collector.

Mr McPhee was fined £1,500, ordered to pay £200 costs and a victim surcharge of £120.

From October 2013, all scrap metal dealers in Wiltshire had to be licensed with Wiltshire Council either as a site or as a collector, which allows them to legally trade to collect, transport and dispose of scrap metal.

No transactions can take place for cash and the public are advised to be extremely cautious of ‘cash for scrap’ operators within the county. They must ensure they do not hand any items to anyone without asking to see their scrap metal dealers licence and waste carriers licence, which must be held by legitimate operators.

Any vehicle used to collect scrap metal, must have the licence clearly displayed in the windscreen of the vehicle and a photograph identifying the collector displayed on the licence.

Licensed site collectors will always arrange collection prior to removal via pre-arranged appointments.

Anyone concerned that they may have been approached by an illegal trader can call Wiltshire Council on 0300 456 0100 to speak with the scrap metal enforcement team, who can quickly check if collectors or sites are licensed.