Operation Targets Vehicles Carrying Stolen Goods

Police and council officials have carried out a joint operation in Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday (29 March) aimed at cracking down on priority crime like burglary and using vehicles to transport stolen property.

Seven Safer Neighbourhood Officers, four Police Community Supports Officers, a Special Constable and three Central Bedfordshire Council Environmental Action Team officers stopped nearly 30 motorists in West Street during the day long crack-down, called Operation Blessington.

Important support was given by five Roads Policing officers, who used sophisticated Automatic Number Plate Equipment (ANPR) to scan vehicle index numbers. By linking to a national database can instantly tell police whether a vehicle was used in crime, whether it is stolen, whether it has insurance, tax and MoT and other details.

During the operation one driver was stopped and arrested on suspicion of suspected money laundering and theft and a quantity of cash and confectionery was seized.

Another driver's attempts to run a scrap metal business simply by sign-writing his Transit van ended when it was established he did not have any official paperwork, including an operator's licence. Action against him includes a £300 fine.

A further 22 other motorists received £50 fines and three penalty points for offences including driving while using mobile telephone and not wearing seat belts and another received a Vehicle Defect Notice and a £60 fine because of mechanical issues with his car.

Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant, Chris Pollard, warned the operation, which follows hot on the heels of a similar one in November, will be followed by further crackdowns.

He said: "Operations like this help make Bedfordshire's roads a no-go area for offenders such as burglars and thieves. It also brings to justice those motorists who persist in endangering others by committing offences such as driving while on the telephone or speeding.

"We make no secret that Operation Blessington will continue and look forward to working with agencies such as Central Bedfordshire Council to ensure offences of every type are expertly dealt with."

Jane Moakes, Assistant Director for Community Safety, Public Protection, Waste and Leisure at Central Bedfordshire Council added: "This is an excellent example of partnership work that deals with those issues that matter most to our local communities. We look forward to working again with Bedfordshire Police to tackle local priorities."

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