Efforts must be made to reduce the number of metal gates and other items that are being sold on as scrap in the UK, the Local Government Association (LGA) believes.

It has called upon the government to introduce new regulations that would make it harder for unscrupulous dealers to sell on scrap metal.

There has been a rise in recent months in the number of thefts, which is largely due to the increasing cost of scrap metal.

Among the LGA's proposals is for dealers to keep a log of their sellers' details, as well as having to renew their licences on an annual basis.

Councillor Mehboob Khan, chairman of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "If we are to clampdown on thieves causing chaos and heartbreak by plundering metal for a quick profit, we need to give councils power to ensure the industry is properly run."

Other proposals include a ban on cash payments, so sellers can easily be traced.

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