A SCRAP metal dealer who traded without a licence has been ordered to pay a fine and costs of £299.

A hearing at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court was told Durham County Council council officers were carrying out a joint operation with Durham Constabulary to check compliance with legislation on the collection of scrap metal on February 2.

They inspected a van which Callum Burrell, 27, of Avon Avenue, Houghton-le-Spring, had been driving at Delaval, in Chester-le-Street, and found it to contain scrap metal including bikes and a head board.

Burrell told the officers he was a refuse collector and had collected the items. However, when was he asked to produce his scrap collector’s licence he said he did not have one.

Burrell was absent from court where magistrates found him guilty of operating without a licence.

Joanne Waller, the council’s head of environment, health and consumer protection, said: “Anyone collecting scrap metal must have a valid licence.

“The legislation is aimed at reducing and preventing theft of metal and allowing officers to be able to trace where it is collected from and disposed of.

This case proves that we will take action against unlicenced dealers and I hope the criminal record and financial penalty will serve as a warning to others who may be tempted to flout the law.”