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Our business is legitimate, scrap merchant tells metal thefts trial
A SCRAP merchant has defended his business against accusations it accepted metal from undercover police posing as thieves.
Simon Rogers yesterday took the witness stand at Oxford Crown Court to deny TR Rogers & Sons accepted the “suspicious” cabling and lead.
The church member and Scout group worker said the Nuneham Courtenay firm always tried to help police with inquiries and even helped police dispose of weapons.
When asked by his barrister Peter Stage, he said: “It is a legitimate business.”
The village yard was raided by police last year and the five workers arrested have been on trial since last month.
Prosecutors have claimed the yard “turned a blind eye” to tonnes of suspicious cabling and lead offered to them by undercover police.
But Rogers, 42, yesterday said dealers were not required to question those selling metal.
He said: “It’s not our job to interrogate people because we are not qualified and nor are we in the position to do so.
“If I interrogated someone, I am likely to get punched.”
He said that if they did interrogate people, metal salesmen would be left fearing they would be left out.
He said this was because they would think the scrapyard would go straight to the source of the metal and stop using them.
The father-of-two said details were taken of sellers – including a name and address, a description of the metal, a vehicle registration and the date and time it was sold.
He also said a CCTV system meant traders could be traced with the metal, and he said the firm subscribed to email alerts from police warning dealers about stolen items.
The court also heard the site displayed posters warning dealers stolen metal would not be accepted.
Rogers said: “I take people at face value.
“I have got the cameras, got the signage, what appears to be a slick, well run operation designed to deter the people we don’t want.”
The trial also heard the scrapyard recycled weapons handed in to Thames Valley Police for free.
Rogers, of Bromsgrove in Faringdon, added: “For us, it was a loss-maker, but it did build what we thought was trust.”
The jury heard Rogers, a former pupil of John Mason School in Oxford, had worked at the scrapyard since the age of 18 and for the last seven years had worked full time in the site office.
The trial also heard Rogers attends the All Saints’ Church in Faringdon and volunteers with the town Scout group.
Rogers, his father Terence Rogers, 70, of Drayton St Leonard, Martin Pace, 36, of Wallingford, Ian Marshall, 29, of Berinsfield, and Darren Andrews, 34, of Berinsfield, all deny attempting to conceal, disguise or convert criminal property.
The trial continues.