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Has someone been pinching your manhole covers? Basically any piece of metal that's not screwed down is being slurped up. The opening up of the giant Chinese, Russian and Indian markets has pushed scrap metal prices through the roof. Raw materials and new metal production cannot keep pace with the demand, so they are begging, borrowing and stealing anything that can be re-smelted to feed the ravenous beast. Scrap metal prices have increased by 95 per cent. Who is making all the money from this new boom? The UK scrap metal industry is now a staggering £1.1 billion. Proof that where's there's muck there's brass.