A vehicle containing scrap was seized at a Bradford yard during an ongoing operation to clamp down on metal thieves.

The scrapyard, in Dick Lane, Laisterdyke, was visited in a joint day of action yesterday involving neighbourhood policing teams, Revenue and Customs and Bradford Council environment enforcement officers.

The raid was part of Operation Spokeville, which has targeted metal thefts since May and has helped to reduce offences by a third in the last year in Bradford South.

Police officers visited Dick Lane Metals to check vehicles bringing loads of scrap metal to be sold. One 48-year-old driver had his flatback Ford Transit, which contained a washing machine, car exhausts and other metal items, seized after he was found not to be insured to carry such a load. He was reported for having insufficient insurance.

Revenue and Customs officers were checking that the scrap yard’s documentation for scrap metal dealings was in order. Police said no offences had come to light but Revenue and Customs inquiries were continuing.

Inspector Andy Gallant, of the Bowling, Barkerend and Bradford Moor Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have had a large amount of success, with a great reduction in metal theft, since the operation began. But it is still a problem we need to tackle.”

Insp Gallant said it was about tackling people, on a day to day basis, travelling in flatback vehicles, white vans or horse and cart, with metal obtained by walking down public gardens and helping themselves, or bullying people into handing it over.

He said: “Metal is extremely difficult to identify in its raw form. We rely heavily on the community to tell us what has been taken from them, and we are trying to encourage people to do so.”

Police have encouraged religious establishments to use anti-theft paint on lead.

A change in the law, introduced this week, makes it illegal for individuals to weigh in metal and receive cash for it at a yard. Payments now have to be made through a bank account.

Sergeant Os Dillon, who led yesterday’s operation, said: “This has increased the pressure on those who are involved in the illegal trade of scrap metal.

“We have spoken to a dealer in the area, made numerous stops on vehicles, and seized one for not having appropriate insurance for carrying metal.

“It really sends out a message that we are not prepared to allow this type of activity to occur in Bradford and that we are monitoring the activities of unscrupulous individuals who aim to benefit from crime.

“If you have information about those involved in thefts or the sale of stolen metal, please contact us anonymously on 0800 555 111.”