More proposals for tackling the scourge of metal theft in Scotland have been published by the Scottish Government.
The consultation seeks views on introducing a tougher licensing regime and banning cash payments for metal.
Following an initial consultation last year, this further consultation specifically focuses on what conditions dealers should be subject to under a new licensing regime with all dealers licensed, and the question of cash payments for metal.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who unveiled the consultation in Edinburgh, said: “We already know from the responses to our first consultation that there is support for proper regulation and licensing. This consultation today takes a closer look at what form licensing would take.”
Superintendent Matt Richards, from Police Scotland, said: “Metal theft is a crime that impacts on all of our communities, and is an issue that Police Scotland treat extremely seriously.
“In addition to causing severe damage to buildings and infrastructure, metal theft also carries a financial penalty for those businesses and organisations that have been affected by it.
“There is an established link between metal theft and serious and organised criminality, and Police Scotland work closely with partners to prevent criminal groups profiting from this illicit trade.
“We will take firm action against anyone who we identify as being involved in stealing metal, who can expect to be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
“Anyone seeking advice on how to guard against metal theft can make contact with their local crime prevention officer, or visit the Metal Theft Scotland website.
The Scottish Government will collate responses, before bringing legislation forward to the Scottish Parliament for scrutiny.