The B.C. government is hoping new regulations for scrap dealers will curb rampant metal theft, but an undercover CTV News investigation revealed that dealers in cities with similar laws don't always follow the rules.

A new bill would require every dealer in the province to record the names and addresses of all metal sellers and ask where they got their material. The information would then be passed on to police daily.

The City of Surrey already has similar rules in place, so CTV News sent a volunteer to find out if they're working.

Telus, which has been hard hit by metal thieves, offered some suspicious-looking property for the investigation. Telus property can only be sold by staff either driving a company vehicle or carrying company ID.

Armed with neither, a volunteer wearing a hidden camera brought a Telus phone booth and some phone cable to Parsons Scrap Metals. Owner Vincent Mak clearly knew the rules.

"Not this one, this is Telus cable," Mak said. "Nobody wants to touch it. It's too sensitive this thing. If the police find this thing, you'll get into trouble."

But the dealer then had a change of heart.

"You can dump it in my place," he said, offering $10 for both items. "I don't give you a bill though -- no bill."

The dealer also failed to ask for ID, even though it's the law in Surrey. He even showed the volunteer a Telus bulletin offering a reward to merchants who report stolen goods. Telus says it hasn't received a tip in months.

At Ever Recycling, located by the Patullo Bridge, a CTV News volunteer tried to sell more phone cable. An employee named Carlos didn't ask where it came from, but insisted on seeing ID.

"I need ID first, I need to type it into the computer," he said. "If you don't want to show ID, you can take it back."

He refused to pay for the cable, but he did agree to let the volunteer leave the metal and walk away.

Surrey has been praised for supposedly cracking down on metal theft – but at two separate locations, CTV News was able to unload Telus property.

Returning to Parsons, Mak initially denied buying the phone booth and cable. He eventually admitted the purchase, and said he regretted it.

"Of course I regret giving him the money, now it gets me in trouble," he said.

At Ever Recycling, Carlos claimed he thought the material was steel wire – even though the dealer at Parsons immediately recognized it as Telus property.

"Doesn't look like a phone cable to me," Carlos said.

The government's proposed legislation would also create a dealer registry, and task inspectors with enforcing the laws – which companies like Telus say is the key to solving the problem.

To view the province's draft legislation addressing metal theft, click here.

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Watch CTV News at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8 for a full report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee