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Chief Constable responds to questions on 'Cash for Gold Shops'-Anderson

17 December, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin Policing Board Member, Martina Anderson MLA (Foyle) has renewed her call for the regulation of 'Cash for Gold Shops' amid fears these shops and web sites are taking advantage of the dire economic circumstances that people find themselves in at this time and particularly in the run-in to Christmas Her call comes following a response from the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott to a number of questions tabled at the Policing Board.

Martina Anderson said

"At the start of December I submitted questions through the Policing Board requesting information on what measures are in place to monitor these 'Cash for Gold' shops and web sites that have begun to spring up everywhere. I believe that some of the companies operating these shops are taking advantage of the dire economic circumstances that many people find themselves in at the present time. In many cases family heirlooms are being handed over for cash as people struggle to cope with the pressures of Christmas.

"The easy access to these 'Cash for 'Gold' shops and the fact that they are unregulated, I suspect is creating in some circumstances a ready means of off-loading illegally obtained jewellery and other valuables. Now I am sure that most of these establishments try to operate within the law but questions must be asked as to how they verify ownership of items presented for cash? There is hardly a day passes without reports of another burglary and in many cases jewellery is taken. The burglars are specifically targeting the elderly and those living alone as they are considered easy prey.

"The Chief Constable Matt Baggott has now responded to questions I submitted to say that there are no regulations in place to govern these websites or stores/jewellers and that it would require legislative intervention by Government. The PSNI have also said that some websites show a selection of payment methods some of which are untraceable. That is totally unacceptable. There needs to be more checks and balances put in place to ensure that the public cannot be exploited and also to prevent criminal gangs using the current craze of 'Cash for Gold' as a means off making easy cash ”

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