HYNDBURN and Haslingden MP Graham Jones is worried new scrap metal laws have a “ridiculous” loophole.

The new Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill bans cashless payments by scrap metal dealers, but mobile collectors are exempt.

Mr Jones welcomed the new law as a whole, as it will stop opportunist metal theives who sell copper cable and war memorials to dishonest dealers who melt it down, no questions asked.

But he added: “The Government has made a profound mistake in this Bill – itinerant scrap metal collectors will be exempt from the legislation.

"This is a huge loophole in the legislation, which renders the action ineffective and futile.

“Furthermore, the Government forced the Bill through the Commons with very little time for debate. Labour tabled an amendment closing this loophole concerning itinerant collectors. The Government ensured that this amendment did not even get a debate in the Commons.

“I am disappointed that this loophole was not even properly debated, let alone be removed.

"It is something that should be agreed on by both parties and yet the Government is determined to keep their heads in the sand and ignore this failing in their weak legislation.”