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Metal thieves will face “robust” action from prosecutors and their crimes will be subject to the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said today.

COPFS’s new “Metal Theft Policy” is a response to the increasing incidence of metal theft due to a rise in scrap metal value.

From today, for instance, solemn proceedings will be raised where there is evidence that the offence is connected to serious and organised crime.

The new policy will contribute to, and complement, the work of the Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce. The guidance also instructs that all cases will be considered under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

And, for the first time, impact statements will be submitted to highlight other consequences of metal theft in addition to the financial impact, for example with the theft of war memorial plaques, theft from churches and other places of worship, or theft from telecommunication networks.

The Solicitor General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson QC said: “Metal theft and the damage it can cause can have a significant impact on everyday lives. It is not victimless. It can affect us all through the desecration of war memorials and buildings of faith or the disruption to travel and telecommunication services.”