The B.C. government is hoping to reduce metal theft, including the wholesale plundering of copper telephone lines, with new legislation that requires scrap metal dealers to report their purchases to police.

Under the proposed law, dealers will have to record the names and addresses of metal sellers, and where the seller got the material, and pass this information on to police every day.

The law would also ban dealers from buying scrap metal from anyone who won't provide the required information.

There will be a dealer registry and a system of inspectors who will enforce the law.

Public Safety Minister General Shirley Bond says the law is aimed at protecting critical communications links like 911 and making sure metal thieves don't profit from their crimes.

Thieves have cut Telus cables 325 times in B.C. this year, and have also stolen everything from hydro wires to commemorative plaques.