EAST Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has pushed for tougher legislation at Stormont to help prevent metal thefts in the borough.
The Ulster Unionist representative said he was aware that metal thefts were affecting many parts of East Antrim, citing a recent attempted theft of metal railings at the Woodburn Water Reservoir.
He has submitted an Assembly question on the subject and has also written to Environment Minister urging him to make metal transactions cashless and therefore create a more easily traceable audit trail.
“A problem highlighted in a number of rural crime prevention meetings I have been involved with recently is that of metal theft,” he added.
“This is a UK-wide problem and has led to a Private Members’ Bill being piloted at Westminster. Here in Northern Ireland responsibility has been devolved to Stormont, so the Executive needs to act. From consultations I have had within my East Antrim constituency with police and others, the lack of traceability of scrap metal is causing a major difficulty for enforcement agencies, dealing with an increase in metal thefts. “
“I firmly believe that a requirement for a transactional audit trail along with photographic ID could benefit the environment.”