Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland has week welcomed proposed action to tackle the problem of metal theft - but said it was long overdue.
Mr Pentland raised the issue at the Scottish Parliament when he pressed Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill whether there was evidence of ‘crime tourism’ - thieves coming north of the border to take advantage of a more lax regime.
He asked whether the rise in thefts in areas like Motherwell and Wishaw indicated a transfer of criminal activity to Scotland as a result of its more lax legislation.
Mr MacAskill responded: “The member raises an interesting point. It was a matter of concern for many of the utility companies when we discussed the issue with them.
“Thankfully, that scenario has not arisen and action is being taken under the task force that is chaired by the British Transport Police but operated effectively on the ground by Police Scotland.”
After being told the the Bill would be going to committee later this year and Mr Pentland said this was ‘welcome but long overdue’.
He added: “This has been a growing problem for some time, and there was no reason why we couldn’t have introduced legislation alongside the UK.
“The Scottish Government has evidently been so busy trying to split the UK that they didn’t have time to use the extensive powers they already have.”