Council and police crackdown on illegal scrap metal collectors

A CRACKDOWN on illegal scrap metal collections in Rugby has been launched following a number of reports from residents.
12 March 2024
Waste and pollution licences and permits

Rugby Borough Council's licensing team has joined forces with Warwickshire Police to target unlicensed scrap metal collectors operating in the borough. 

During Operation Dined, Warwickshire Police plan to inspect collection vehicles for roadworthiness and check whether the occupants hold the correct licences to carry out collections - reporting unlicensed collectors to the council for investigation.

And the council's licensing team has issued a 'Your Rubbish, Your Responsibility' reminder to residents to support the operation and raise awareness of the laws surrounding waste disposal - in particular, scrap metal.

All householders have a 'duty of care' when disposing of waste, even when paying a builder, gardener or 'man with a van' to take the rubbish away.

The duty of care means if a householder has failed to check whether a company or individual has a waste carrier licence and the rubbish subsequently gets fly-tipped, the householder still has responsibility for the waste and faces prosecution and a hefty fine.

Residents can check whether a company holds a valid waste carrier licence on the Environment Agency website:

Residents should also request a waste transfer note from the collector and ask where the collector intends to dispose of the waste. 

In addition to holding a valid waste carrier licence, scrap metal collectors operating in Rugby require a scrap metal collector licence issued by the borough council.

Scrap metal collectors cannot be paid 'cash in hand', so residents should avoid collectors who request cash payment.

Residents can check whether a scrap metal collector and/or dealer operating in Rugby has a valid licence issued by the borough council on the Environment Agency website:

Cllr Derek Poole, leader of Rugby Borough Council and portfolio holder for regulation and safety, urged residents to play a part in tackling illegal scrap metal collectors in the borough.

"It's important residents realise responsibility for the safe and legal disposal of waste lies with the owner of the waste," Cllr Poole said.

"While the majority of scrap metal collectors, including 'man with a van' businesses, operate in the borough legitimately, residents need to demonstrate a duty of care by checking whether collectors hold valid licences in order to avoid potential legal action should the scrap be fly-tipped and traced back to the original owner.

"Fly-tipping costs the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds every year and we investigate all incidents. Where we find evidence to trace the owner of the waste, we can take legal action."

Residents can report suspicions of illegal scrap metal collections by contacting the council's licensing team on (01788) 533533 or email

The council operates a bulky waste collection service for residents who have unwanted household items.

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