SIX scrapyards in Bolton have signed up to new a new scheme to crack down on metal theft.

Operation Tornado, spearheaded by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), will aim to make it easier to trace sellers of stolen metal through an identification sche-me.

It was launched last Wednesday, and now those selling scrap metal to dealers will have to show identification with an address and a utility bill less than three months old showing that address.

Six companies — E Platt and Sons in Waterloo Street, Bolton, J Doyle Ltd in Manchester Road, Westhoughton, Metro Salvage in Waterloo Street, Bolton, P and G Metals in Longson Street, Bolton, Chadwick and Sons in Oakenbottom Road, Breightmet, LMP Lloyds — have signed up to the scheme.

One company, which has not been named, did not join up.

Insp Wayne Readfern, who is leading the fight against metal theft in Bolton, said: “We are delighted that six out of seven have come on board and we look forward to working with the new procedures. We are disappointed there was one abstention but it was not from lack of trying and they had their reasons for not joining.”

The operation hopes to rem-ove unscrupulous dealers who operate outside the law.

Sean Chadwick, of Chadwick and Sons, said: “We are totally against metal theft and will do anything we can to stop it. There’s no way anyone with stolen metal is being accepted here.”

Last month a gang of metal thieves was jailed after stealing hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of equipment from railways.

They took £100,000-worth of railway fencing from Kearsley, as well as carrying out thefts in Atherton, Hindley and Ince, and across the North West.

Jon Howarth, aged 30, of Bradford Street, Farnworth, Paul Garner, aged 44, of Red Cedar Park, Darcy Lever, Leon Lord, aged 27, of Church Road, Radcliffe, and Philip Broadhurst, aged 36, of Hazel Avenue, Radcliffe, were key members of the gang.

Garner was jailed for three years and two months, Lord for two years and Howarth and Broadhurst for 20 months each.