A NEWPORT scrap metal dealer caught by undercover police is said to be the first in England and Wales to be prosecuted under new trading laws.

Director of D & E Scrap Metal Ltd, David Eagle, pleaded guilty to paying for scrap metal with cash and failing to comply with scrap metal dealing regulations at Cwmbran Magistrates' Court.

Gwent Police believe this is the first outcome using new statute, Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, in England and Wales which makes it an offence to deal in cash when it comes to buying scrap metal.

On March 21, two undercover officers entered the business and spoke to Mr Eagle, 52.

Initially, Eagle, of Albert Avenue, Newport, informed the pair that the business could not receive the scrap metal as they did not have the required documentation.

But, Eagle changed his mind when one of the men claimed they were from Wolverhampton so would not be able to get the required documents.

Mr Eagle paid £9 for the metal in cash.

The court heard Eagle was not involved in the office side of the business and usually delivers skips but on this occasion he found himself alone in the office and felt sorry for the men after they pleaded their story. He was fined £225.

Superintendent Glyn Fernquest, who has been leading a Gwent-wide operation to combat metal theft over the past two years said: "Whilst the problem of metal theft has vastly reduced in Gwent there are still those who engage in this dangerous and criminal practice. They are only able to operate if unscrupulous scrap dealers flout laws and pay cash without asking questions."