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12 February 2010, 16:35 | Updated: 12 February 2010, 16:42
Over 130 vehicles were stopped and checked during a multi-agency operation held in Suffolk yesterday using Automated Number Plate Recognition technology.
Operation Utah, which aimed to deny criminals the use of the roads, ran between 7am and 5pm. Around 40 officers from these forces supported local officers and representatives from partner agencies including the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), DVLA, UK Border Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.
Automated Number Plate Recognition technology was used by police officers to stop suspicious vehicles and escort them to a specially cordoned off central site, located at the Whitehouse Industrial Estate in Ipswich. Police officers and partner agencies then carried out thorough checks on both the vehicles and their occupants.
During the operation 131 vehicles were escorted to the central site, of which 22 were seized by a combination of Suffolk Constabulary, DVLA and the UK Border Agency. As well as seizing three Large Goods Vehicles, the UK Border Agency was also able to recover outstanding fines worth over £6,000.
Suffolk Constabulary issued 32 Fixed Penalty Notices for offences including no insurance, no MOT, using a mobile phone while driving and seatbelt related offences. Ten drivers were also reported for police offences and two arrests were made, one for an outstanding warrant and one for driving licence offences.
Among other positive results, VOSA issued 88 advisory notices for defects and offences, 23 delayed prohibitions and 24 immediate prohibitions. Depending upon the severity of the defect and the notice issued, the vehicle may not have been allowed to be driven again until a fault has been rectified.
Chief Inspector Mike Bacon of the Roads Policing Unit said of the Operation,
“This is the first time we have held an operation of this scale in Suffolk and the results are very satisfying. By using modern technology we were able to stop and process a number of vehicles for a wide range of offences. The thorough work that was done by both police officers and our partner agencies meant that we were able to make a major contribution towards road safety and disrupting criminals’ use of the roads. All agencies involved put in a lot of hard work and it was pleasing that everyone was able to see positive results, from arrests and vehicle seizures to the recovery of outstanding fines. We hope that this operation has further demonstrated our commitment to using the latest technology and working with our partners to tackle crime on Suffolk’s roads.”