Tougher laws on the sale of jewellery ‘can halt housebreakings’
TOUGH new laws governing the trade of second-hand jewellery are needed to protect victims of housebreakings better, campaigners have warned.
They say the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 is outdated and insufficient. The value of gold has increased by 220 per cent in the past four years, and silver by 230 per cent.
Police say this has naturally made jewellery more attractive to thieves, and the Scottish Government has said it is open to changing the law.
Assistant Chief Constable Angela Wilson, of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: “Although anyone getting their home broken into and their property stolen is harrowing enough, it is recognised that the rise in the value of precious metals has not helped in the appetite for some to commit these crimes.”
Many traders are only required to note a seller’s name and address, a description of the jewellery, and the price, when buying from someone who has just walked in off the street.
Campaigners say there should be a requirement to ask for proof of ID and to have CCTV in stores. They also want traders to take a photograph of any item bought, to feed into a database that stolen items can be matched against.
The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (Acpos) insists it does recoup some stolen jewellery from second-hand shops.
However, Michael Ray, a community councillor in Liberton, Edinburgh, said police locally were less optimistic.
“There has been a recent increase in burglaries in the area of Liberton and Fairmilehead,” he said. “I asked the policeman how much stolen property do you get back. He just shrugged and said ‘next to nothing’.
“I think that [the law] is the major problem. It’s a burglars’ charter because you can get rid of the stuff so damn easily.”
Police said many shops do ask for proof of ID, even though it is not strictly required, and that this has helped them in some cases.
Chief Superintendent Malcolm Graham, of Lothian and Borders, said: “Some places do keep a record. Pawnbrokers tend to be better, and the national chains and some small operators.
“Where we have got a level of concern is companies more recently created, that don’t operate in geographical boundaries, they are harder for us to enforce.”
A spokesman for Victim Support Scotland said. “Housebreaking and the theft of personal goods is a horrible crime to suffer and as an organisation that works for victims, there is certainly an attraction to a system that would make it harder for criminals to get rid of – and profit from – the things they steal.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Local authorities already have the powers to apply mandatory conditions for dealers they feel appropriate and we would be open to proposals for changes to the existing legislation.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east