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Legal Facts

Cashless trading in the uk, the law and how it affects you

The Legal Facts of Cashless Trading

Cashless trading came into force in December 2012 as part of the implementation of the updated Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishing of Offenders Act, 2012.

The Act banned the use of cash in the trading of all scrap metal within England and Wales. It is now an offense to pay people in cash.

Note that Itinerant Collectors are not exempt from the cash ban, unless they have been granted an order under section 3.1 of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act by the Local Authority and the local Police Chief.

Vehicle dismantlers buying end-of-life vehicles (ELVs or scrap cars) for parts brokerage are still able to pay in cash.

Cashless trading UK, ID requirements, Sims Metal ManagementKeep updated on cashless trading by visiting the BMRA website.

Operation Tornado

Operation Tornado is a scheme which requires anyone selling scrap metal to participating dealers to provide photographic proof of identity. The scheme was developed in partnership with the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Home Office, and Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland Police. Read more about Operation Tornado on the British Transport Police website.

The New Scrap Metal Dealers Act

Cashless trading UK, Payment options, Sims Metal ManagementThe new Scrap Metal Dealers Act (SMDA) came into effect in Autumn 2013. At that time Itinerant Collectors and Vehicle Dismantlers will be wholly subject to the cash ban.

The new SMDA will also make the necessity for identification, at point of sale, a legal condition. The likelihood is the requirements for proof of identification will be very similar to those required, now, by Operation Tornado.

Sims is currently working to Operation Tornado standards and requires the following forms of identification:

  • A valid Great Britain or Northern Ireland Photocard Driving License


  • A valid U.K. or EEA state Passport and a utility bill (not mobile phone), bank or building society statement, credit or debit card statement, council tax demand letter or statement which is no more than 3 months old.
Get in touch

Email or call 0800 008 7223 to find out more about cashless trading in your area.

Alternatively contact your local Sims Metal Management metal recycling site.