The Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police v (1) The Crown Court at Sheffield, (2) Aluminium Recycling (UK) Limited, BT Interested Party

An order made by His Honour Judge Moore at the Crown Court at Sheffield, ordering the return of 37 tonnes of granulated copper to a scrap metal recycling firm was quashed by Mr Justice Stewart, sitting in the Administrative Court. Officers of the South Yorkshire Police Force, accompanied by BT employees attended the premises of Aluminium Recycling (UK) Limited in Barnsley on 17 April 2012, pursuant to a search warrant in connect to allegedly stolen metal. After an extensive 3 day search of the premises the officers seized 148.5 tonnes of granulated copper and 17.6 tonnes of pre-granulated copper. The company subsequently made applications under section 8 of PACE and section 59 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 for the return of granulated copper and other items and on 8 April 2013 HHJ Moore ordered the return of 25% of the granulated copper pursuant to that application. South Yorkshire Police issued judicial review proceedings supported by BT on the basis that the judge was acting outside his powers. The matter was heard by Stewart J on the 15 January 2014 and in his judgment, handed down 24 January 2014, he found that the judge had applied the wrong test in determining whether the copper should be returned and had he applied the correct test he would not have so ordered. He also determined that the order to return 25% of the copper was arbitrary and unsupported by the evidence. Whilst two directors of the company currently face trial at the Crown Court at Sheffield Aluminium Recycling (UK) Limited has not been charged with any criminal offence.

Iain Daniels was instructed by BT’s in house legal team to represent BT’s interests