METAL theft is a serious crime and the new guideline will see it dealt with as such by the courts.
It is not, and never was, a victimless crime that saw a few cheeky scamps making a few bob by selling some wire they chanced upon.
Instead it costs individuals, churches and businesses millions of pounds and puts lives at risk when cables are stolen from the likes of railway and tele- communication installations.
The Scottish government is planing to license scrap dealers and bring in new rules that will make it tougher for people to sell stolen metal.
The new guidelines will mean those who are still prepared to steal metal will, when caught, face tougher penalties and could also forfeit income through Proceeds of Crime laws.
Greater efforts to stamp out this crime and to punish those who think it OK to make financial gain from stealing essential infrastructure should be welcomed by us all.
Metal theft impacts on us all in some way or another and the message must be sent out to those responsible that it will not be tolerated.
Whether it is piping from empty homes, lead from church roofs, a war memorial or cables from railway lines there should be zero tolerance of metal theft.