ILLEGAL scrap metal collectors were stopped in their tracks after a council crack down.

Eight people were caught illegally collecting scrap metal in the north of the county as part of a Cherwell District Council and police operation.

The council hoped to clamp down on rogue traders in the district for Scrap Metal Week which ran from May 28

The operation was on the hunt for scrap metal collectors illegally trading by working outside their licenced areas or not meeting the conditions of their insurance or license.

Officers found one van driver working without insurance and on May 30 seized the offending blue transit van from Oxford Road in Adderbury, near Banbury. This is now a police matter.

Another dealer was slapped with an on-the-spot council fine of £300 and six DVLA penalty points for not having business insurance.

Cherwell District Council executive member with responsibility for licencing Andrew McHugh said: “This successful operation shows how seriously the council takes illegal scrap metal dealing and that we will not hesitate to take enforcement action when it’s required."

Other traders stopped in the tracks included one scrap metal collector licenced to collect from the Cherwell area but was caught having collected a entire van-load of metal from an address in Oxford.

As a result, his insurance was not valid for the Oxford collection at the time he was pulled over by the enforcement officers and the incident has been passed on to Oxford City Council to investigate further.

Other scrap metal collectors in the area were reprimanded by the team and slapped with a 'first and final' warning for not meeting licence conditions for trading in the area.

Cherwell District Council said the warning means that if there are any other breaches to the licence it may result in the licence being revoked or suspended.

Mr McHugh added: "It is easy for dealers to apply for a licence with the council and consumers are increasingly vigilant when it comes to asking dealers for their licence.

"When you factor in the fines that can be issued for illegal dealing, and the potential for prosecutions, getting properly licenced really is a win-win for would-be scrap metal collectors."

A licence costs £270 for mobile collectors or £455 for dealerships.