SCRAP METAL dealers are working with Essex Police to crack down on rogue traders.

Officers visited Imperial Metals in Vanguard Way, Shoebury, Premier Metals on the Sutton Road Industrial Estate and Rochford Scrap on the Purdeys Industrial Estate as part of a crackdown on people selling dodgy scrap to legitimate businesses.

Seven will be investigated by police following the checks.

Officers scoured paperwork at the yards to draw up a list of people who have recently sold them scrap metal.

These names were checked against council records to find out if the sellers had the correct carrier licences.

Anyone without the licence, which became mandatory at the end of the last year,will be investigated by the police, interviewed and could be fined up to £5,000.

Officers praised the careful record keeping at Imperial Metals.

Manager Jordan Gosling said: “It’s annoying there are unlicensed traders out there.

“It takes years to build up a good reputation in this business, but minutes to lose it. We want to keep ours.”

The operation was spearheaded by Sergeant Paul Costin, PC Danielle Hutton and Special PC Vicki Todd, who are based in Basildon and Billericay.

Sgt Costin said: “We want to send a strong message we will be keeping up the pressure on unlicensed traders.