After a CTV News investigation revealed Surrey scrap dealers breaking local rules meant to stem metal theft, some in the industry are skeptical that proposed province-wide laws would do much more to deter criminals.

The City of Surrey requires every scrap dealer to ask for identification from all metal sellers and ask where they got their material.

But a volunteer with a hidden camera recently captured footage of Parsons Scrap Metals owner Vincent Mak offering to buy a suspicious-looking Telus phone booth and some phone cable without asking for ID. At Ever Recycling, an employee refused to pay for suspect phone cable, but agreed to let the volunteer dump the metal.

The B.C. government wants to bring in legislation similar to Surrey's, but scrap dealer Jim Norton of Speedee Salvage says the proposed laws don't go far enough.

"I think it's a great step in the right direction, but I think that the people selling stolen goods will just work harder at disguising it as legitimate goods," he told CTV News.

The draft bill also calls for all scrap dealers to be registered so that inspectors can look into their records. If a dealer is found breaking the rules, they could be fined as much as $100,000.

Norton says he'd also like to see a registration system for sellers to create greater control over who's allowed to sell scrap.

Telecommunications giant Telus has been hard hit by metal thieves, and agreed to provide the dubious metal goods for CTV's hidden camera investigation. Telus property can only be sold by staff either driving a company vehicle or carrying company ID.

Telus spokesman Shawn Hall says enforcement would be "crucial" for any legislation targeting metal thieves.

"Ultimately, we'd like to see a regional policing task force for the Lower Mainland that was tackling this," Hall said.

Solicitor General Shirley Bond says cooperation will be necessary for the law to be enforced.

"Protecting critical infrastructure in this province is not just up to police, or to a police task force. Success will also require the participation of local governments, the province, businesses and citizens," she said in a written statement.

If the legislation is approved, inspectors will be provincially appointed. The Public Safety Ministry says it's too early to know the cost of enforcement, but no new money will be budgeted for the inspectors.

B.C. is also vowing to lobby the federal government for changes to the criminal code that would see tougher penalties for metal thieves.

With a report from CTV British Columbia's Mi-Jung Lee

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