Police spring surprise crackdown on road villains
Wiltshire Police have been carrying out spot checks on vehicles around Marlborough today (Wednesday) in a bid to identify dangerous vehicles combat a range of crimes including hare coursing, fly-tipping, and the misuse of red diesel.
The operation was led by officers from Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, and supported by HM Revenue and Customs, The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency,and Wiltshire Council.
From 8am this morning officers were stopping vehicles travelling along the A346 near Marlborough, on the A338 at Burbage, the A4361 in Avebury and the A4 at Froxfield.
PC Marc Jackson said: "There were a number of aims of the operation, firstly to remove illegal vehicles from the roads.
"Our colleagues in the HMRC, VOSA and at the Council were looking for offences relating to their areas of expertise like the use of red diesel (a low-tax fuel used by farm and construction vehicles), vehicles that were un-roadworthy and dangerous, and those carrying materials they shouldn't be, for example the carrying of commercial waste which the driver of the vehicle doesn't have a licence for.
"Also recently there has been a spate of rural offences in this area, like hare coursing and burglaries. Often those criminals use the local roads to great effect in order to commit their crimes - these spot checks help us identify suspicious looking vehicles which could be linked to criminal activity."
Pete White, Wiltshire Council's enforcement manager for environmental crime, said: "We have been looking for scrap metal dealers who might have been transporting scrap metal without a licence.
"We have also been targeting commercial vehicles who's drivers may not have been carrying the right documentation for the waste they were transporting. This is one way to combat and to try and stamp out the problem of fly-tipping in our county."
Since this article was first published, police have revealed that:
- 166 vehicles were stopped across the four site
- A 23-year-old man from Bristol was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis and driving under the influence of drugs. He has been released on unconditional bail.
- A 37-year-old man from Gloucester arrested for failing to attend court. He is still in custody.
- Six fixed penalty tickets issued for offences including no MoT, not wearing a seatlbelt, and using a mobile phone whilst driving.
- One agricultural vehicle found to be defective.
- Four prohibitions were issued to commercial and agricultural vehicles for not being roadworthy. The vehicle would have to be recovered by a tow truck/low loader and taken away from the spot check site, the driver would not have been allowed to drive it.
- 25 verbal warnings were issued for minor vehicle faults.