SCRAP metal dealers across Bolton have been visited by the police to ensure they are complying with the new cashless system.

New legislation — introduced on Monday — means it is illegal for scrap metal to be bought or sold for scrap for cash, and now payment must be a crossed cheque or electronic money transfer.

Police visited more than six dealers in Bolton — and found all were complying.

One tipper van, which arrived at Lloyd Metal Processors in Raikes Lane while police were carrying out their inspection, was seized because the driver did not have a licence.

The new legislation is part of a crackdown on metal thefts.

Operation Tornado was launched earlier this year, which means anyone selling metal must show identification.

In 2011 Operation Alloy targeted those who trade in stolen metal.

In the summer of that year there were about 120 reports of metal theft on average a month, which has now reduced to 25 to 35 a month.

PC Russ Davies, who works on Operation Alloy in Bolton, said: “Metal thefts in Bolton have reduced significantly, but we want to continue to reduce this.

“We have been checking all the dealers have been complying with the law and there have been no issues.”

Wayne Jervis, managing director at Lloyd Metal Processors, added: “This is a family-run business for more than 20 years and we have all the permits and comply with the law.

“The new cashless system has gone smoothly, we have not lost any customers.”

Supt Craig Thompson who leads Operation Alloy said: “More than half of metal thefts target homes, leaving people in damaged and unsafe properties and facing huge bills to rectify the damage.

“This is particularly hard at this time of year and in the current economic climate.

“It will help to lift the lid on the shadowy dealings of these heartless criminals, make it easier to bring them to justice and make metal theft a crime that simply does not pay.