If you wish to collect or deal in scrap metal you must have a scrap metal dealer’s licence before you can trade.

Car dismantlers require a scrap metal dealer’s licence. You do not need a licence if scrap metal is ancillary to your main trade for example you are a plumber, electrician or mechanic.

Scrap metal includes steel, iron, copper, brass and aluminium. You do not need a scrap metal dealer’s licence for trading in precious metals such as gold or silver.

Scrap metal dealers must keep records from whom and what they are collecting. They cannot buy metal for cash.

Scrap metal dealers may also require planning permission and a waste carrier’s licence.

We can refuse a scrap metal dealer’s licence for example if the licence holder is convicted of a relevant offence, for example, the theft of metal.

Types of licence

There are two types of scrap metal dealer’s licences:

  • Site licences
  • Collector’s licences

When granted each licence will last for 3 years.

Site licence

A site licence permits a scrap metal dealer to collect scrap metal by appointment only, anywhere in the country.

We can only issue a site licence for sites within Torbay. A site is where the business is based not where the metal is stored. A site licence does not permit the storage of metal.

Collector’s licence

A collector’s licence permits a scrap metal dealer to operate like the traditional rag and bone man. A collector’s licence permits a scrap metal dealer to go door to door asking to collect or buy metal without an appointment.

A collector’s licence from us only permits collecting in Torbay. If you wish to operate as a collector in Torbay you must have a licence from us. If you wish to collect outside Torbay you will need a licence from each of the local authorities in whose area you are collecting.

When collecting, the collector’s licence must be displayed in the vehicle being used for collecting.

An valid application must be made with Torbay Council. This should include:

  • A complete application form
  • The correct fee
  • A valid Disclosure and Barring Certificate (no more than 3 months old)

You need to submit a Basic Disclosure Certificate along with the application form. You can apply for this certificate at Request a basic DBS check - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

This is because the Home Office has decided that you need to tell the Council if you have been convicted of certain crimes. A conviction may not automatically prevent you from having a licence if the offence was unrelated to being a scrap metal dealer or occurred a long time ago and you can convince the Council that you are a suitable person.

All applicants for a Collector’s Licence must provide photographic identification in support of their application

An application needs to be made for your licence and a fee will be payable to Torbay Council. Please note it is also a requirement to submit a valid Disclosure and Barring certificate as part of the application process.

Any person convicted for any of the relevant offences will be refused a licence. Details of the relevant offences are available below.

Will the application be granted automatically?

No, the Police have the right to make representations against an application if they feel that it is necessary to protect the public. We aim to complete every application within 6 weeks.

New Site - £976
New Collector - £499
Variation - £112
Renewal Site - £731
Renewal Collector - £366

In the first instance, your appeal should be logged with:

Community Safety
Torbay Council
C/o Town Hall
Castle Circus

It is possible to apply online for this licence at Gov UK:

Register as a scrap metal dealer  Opens in a new window

The dealer must keep records of any scrap metal received or disposed of in the course of their business.

Metal received:

Date and time it was received, registration number of any vehicle it was brought in and the name and address of anyone who brought it in, copies of documents they have used to verify the name and address of who brought in the metal and receipts of any financial transaction

Metal disposed of:

Description of the metal, date and time of its disposal and the name and address of any person it is sold to.