Specialist In Representing Scrap Metal Dealers
Recently the police have been targeting scrap metal dealers, as a result of pressure being put upon the police by organisations such as BT and British Rail.
There are concerns that the investigations are based upon a fallacy. The police have taken a view that for example, British Telecom cable can never legitimately be within the public domain and must always be the property of BT.
This is not a correct interpretation of the law.
Based upon this fallacy the police have carried out covert investigations into scrap metal dealers. They have sent undercover police officers to dealers to pose as customers. The police attempt to create a course of dealing and after they have done so they then take in what they believe would be suspicious items to try to ascertain whether first of all employees of scrap metal dealers would buy the same on behalf of the company and secondly, whether the directors or managers of the company would buy or would agree to this purchase.
The police have recorded what was said during the course of these transactions and the police have collated the same as evidence.
The manner in which these investigations were carried out is questionable because generally in criminal law it is not permissible for investigating authorities to create a crime and then investigate it, but leaving that to one side it is right to say that in some cases employees of companies have misbehaved.
In some cases managers and directors of companies have sought to protect their employees by inadvertently taking the blame for matters which are not either within their knowledge or within their responsibility. It is essential therefore that if any companies are investigated in connection with this enquiry or similar they should urgently seek legal advice.
It would of course be best if they were to seek advice from a specialist.
The consequences for a company of being convicted of a crime relating to systemised handling of stolen goods i.e. converting stolen cable for cash, or systemised money laundering i.e. converting illegal property into legal property, are devastating. The presumption would be that all assets and all transactions carried out within the preceding six years were as a result of illegal activity unless the company can prove otherwise.
They would during such an investigation have to identify the source of and the legitimacy of all payments into their bank account and all payments out whether they be cash or otherwise. Quite apart from the cost of carrying out this transaction the consequences of failing could be devastating. To suggest that the result would be bankruptcy and imprisonment would not be understating the problem.
We are hugely experienced, capable and have an outstanding track record of success. If you are involved in an Inland Revenue tax fraud investigation, please contact our Regulatory & White Collar Crime defence team as soon as possible.