Seized weapons recycled for Olympic building materials

Britain's largest police force is recycling guns and knives into materials for the construction industry. Scotland Yard collected more than 52 tonnes of scrap metal from old keys, knives and guns during the last financial year.

Recovered steel, iron and other more valuable metals were melted down and used in the structures of bridges and buildings, as well as in car and train production. The force said some of the materials will enjoy a second life at the 2012 Olympic site in Stratford, east London.

Staff also collected more than 3.3 million spent bullets, weighing some 28 tonnes, from the London force's firing ranges. The bullets and casings, which are made up of lead, brass and aluminium, were sold off to be transformed into photo frames and jewellery.

Other items sent for recycling included uniforms, body armour which is used in car production, cooking oil and horse manure.

The reuse was part of a drive to reduce the impact of the £3.5 billion organisation on the environment. The Metropolitan Police's annual environmental report said the force recycled a total of 3,182 tonnes of waste in 2008-9.

But it also revealed that much more can be done to cut pollution and waste created by its massive vehicle fleet and travel by employees. The force owns around 5,500 vehicles which cover 65 million miles and consume some 13 million litres of fuel each year.

Senior officers blamed rising carbon emissions on an increase in counter-terrorism operations and heavier demands on local officers.

Met spokeswoman Sarah Foster said: "The Met is a huge operation across the capital, employing over 50,000 people working from almost 800 buildings. Our environmental policy has been really successful in minimising the potential environmental impact of what we do for London.

"We're constantly looking for new ways to recycle and new markets for our recyclable materials, to conserve resources, save energy and money. As well as working together to make London safer, our staff and officers are playing their part in making London's environment greener."

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