A ‘rag and bone’ man has been ordered to pay £354 in fines and costs after collecting scrap metal in Darlington without a licence.

Carl Ford, 36, of Repton Avenue, Stockton, pleaded guilty by letter to an offence that saw him carry on a business as a scrap metal dealer with Darlington on February 2 this year without a licence.

On Tuesday (September 12), Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard how earlier this year local authority officers worked alongside Police on a Tees Valley-wide operation in which they stopped and checked vehicles carrying scrap metal.

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Ford was seen driving a vehicle in Harris Street, Darlington and someone in the vehicle was heard shouting ‘rag and bone’.

When stopped, he said that by shouting this, people would come from their houses and give him their scrap metal.

Magistrates were told Ford had previously been licensed but this had expired and he had no paperwork to show where the scrap metal he had in his vehicle was from.

He was fined £146 and ordered to pay £150 costs and £58 victim surcharge.

Following sentencing, councillor Amanda Riley, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, said: I hope this prosecution acts as a deterrent to anybody thinking of travelling into this area to collect scrap metal without a licence.

“Unlicensed collectors take trade from legitimate and licensed dealers and are often linked to later incidents of crime, such as theft and fly-tipping.”