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Scrap Metal Dealers

What is a scrap metal dealer?

The 2013 Act defines a scrap metal dealer, a site, a mobile collector and scrap metal. A dealer is defined as someone carrying on a business which consists wholly or in part of buying or selling scrap metal, whether or not the metal is sold in the form in which it is bought. However a manufacturing business that sells scrap metal created only as a by-product of the processes it uses, or because it has a surplus of materials, is not caught by this definition. A dealer also includes someone carrying on business as a motor salvage operator. This is defined as a business that:

  • wholly or in part recovers salvageable parts from motor vehicles for re-use or re-sale, and then sells the rest of the vehicle for scrap
  • wholly or mainly involves buying written-off vehicles and then repairing and selling them off
  • wholly or mainly buys or sells motor vehicles for the purpose of salvaging parts from them or repairing them and selling them off.

A collector is defined as a person who carries on business as a scrap metal dealer otherwise than at a site, and regularly engages in the course of that business in collecting waste materials and old, broken, worn out or defaced articles by means of door to door visits.

Scrap metal itself includes any old, waste or discarded metal or metallic material, and any product, article or assembly which is made from or contains metal and is broken, worn out or regarded by its last holder as having reached the end of its useful life. This definition is not intended to include second hand goods, but these could be caught by the definition if they are made from or contain metal that is broken or worn out. It will be a question in each case as to whether items fall within the definition. The definition does however include platinum and a range of other rare metals now being used in catalytic converters although gold or silver are not included in the definition of scrap metal. Jewellers or businesses trading in second hand gold and silver jewellery or products are not therefore caught by this definition.

What types of licences are there?

There are two types of licences:

Site licence

All the sites where a licensee carries on business as a scrap metal dealer have to be identified, and a site manager has to be named for each site. This licence allows the licensee to transport scrap metal to and from those sites from any local authority area. 

Collector’s licence

This allows the licensee to operate as a collector in the area of the issuing local authority. It does not allow the collector to operate in any other local authority area, so a separate licence has to be obtained from each council the collector wishes to operate in. The licence does not authorise the licensee to operate a site; to do so they will need a site licence from the relevant local authority.

It should be noted that a dealer can only hold one type of licence in any one local authority area. They have to decide whether they are going to have a site or a mobile licence in any one area. They cannot hold both a site and mobile collector’s licence from the same council.

How do I apply for a licence?

You can apply for a license by visiting the Scrap Metal Dealers page in the business section of this website.

What happens if I don't have a licence?

You could be fined £5,000 if you don’t hold a licence. You could also face the following conditions:

  • you must not receive scrap metal except between 9am and 5pm on any day
  • all scrap metal must be kept in the form it was received up to 72 hours from when it was received

A council may revoke a licence at any time and close unlicensed sites.


You must not receive scrap metal from a person without verifying their name and address. You must not buy scrap metal for cash. A site licence must be displayed in a prominent place, accessible to the public, at each site identified in the licence. A mobile collector’s licence must be displayed on any vehicle that is being used in the course of the business and can be easily read by a person outside the vehicle.

You must keep a record of all scrap metal you receive including:

  • a description including type, form, condition, weight, any marks identifying previous owners or distinguishing features
  • the date and time
  • the registration mark of the vehicle it was delivered in or on
  • the full name and address of the person received from
  • the full name of the person who makes the payment acting for the dealer

You must keep a record of all scrap metal you dispose of including:

  • a description including type, form and weight (site licence holders only)
  • the date and time
  • the full name and address of the person disposed to
  • if payment is made (by sale or exchange), the price of other consideration received (site licence holders only)

You must keep your records for 3 years and allow the council or police to inspect your premises and records if asked.

How do I view other business' licences?

You can view other licences here on our Licensing Online Register.

Am I using a legitimate scrap dealer business?

Check (registration/ID)
Refuse (if they cannot provide registration number)
Ask (for receipt)
Paperwork (keep it as proof of your transaction) 

If you hire another person (such as builder, plumber, gardener) or leave items for passing scrap metal dealers to remove on your behalf and your items get fly tipped, you can be held responsible and could get fined (up to £5,000). If you are not disposing of the item(s) at a Household Waste Recycling Centre (tip), you should:-

  • Ensure that the unwanted items are on your property and not left on a road or pavement for collection
  • Check the license/badge of the person collecting the item(s) to ensure they are authorised or ask for their Waste Carrier Number. Also record their vehicle registration number if you can
  • If they cannot show relevant ID or refuse to, you should refuse their services
  • Cash cannot be used as payment and you should ensure you get a receipt with their details on (including their waste carrier number)
  • Ensure that they have a record of your name and address written down.

Report it

You can call us on our main telephone number of 01782 717717 from Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 5pm. The Council is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. There are answerphone facilities available outside of these hours if you wish to leave a message. For out of hours emergency calls please ring 01782 615599. You can also email our contact centre customerservices@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

Last updated 8 May 2019

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