The opening of shops in the city and county that purchase gold for cash has prompted Waterford city Councilor, Gary Wyse, to raise concerns he has about the trade and he intends to raise the subject as a matter of urgency at the next Joint Policing Committee meeting.

Cllr Wyse said he believed legislation needed to be enacted in order to address issues such as people turning up with gold for sale without having to provide any proof of ownership or identification.

“This, for me, is totally unacceptable. House break-ins are on the increase and elderly people are being targeted. I want our laws updated so that these shops are not, unwittingly, contributing to crime.”

Councillor Wyse said he welcomed a statement from Noel Hancock, managing director of Davenport Direct, a fully-owned Irish company trading in the purchase of unwanted gold.

Stressing that there were not ‘sacks full of swag’ coming in the doors of his company’s 30 trading centres, Mr Hancock said he would welcome official regulation of the business as had been done in other countries. He also said he would invite any councillor or garda to spend a day in one of his outlets so they could observe for themselves the way business was conducted and the type of person who dealt with them.

Too easy

However, while accepting that the gold shops were not doing anything wrong, the city-based Fianna Fail councillor still believes it is too easy to turn up with items and within minutes walk away with cash in hand.

“I would like to see a situation whereby all pieces presented for purchase would be documented, photographed, logged and held for a period of two months before being sold on. Any person selling gold should also provide identification such as a driving licence or passport,” declared Councillor Wyse.

Mr Hancock said he agreed that there should be compulsory indentification requirements and that purchases from under 18s should not be allowed, In Spain, installation of CCTV was mandatory and that was something his own company already carried out. He revealed his customer base was 95% female aged 25 and upwards. Most of the time, they were emptying their jewellery boxes of unwanted gifts from old boyfriends or just getting rid of unwanted or broken pieces.