Hundreds of vehicles stopped in multi-agency crackdown on Cumbria's roads (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Hundreds of vehicles stopped in multi-agency crackdown on Cumbria's roads
MORE than 300 vehicles were stopped in a police operation to crack down on criminals on Thursday.
High visibility ‘Operation Acrobat’ involved several agencies, including 75 uniformed and plain-clothed Cumbria Police officers with the aim of deterring and detecting all kinds of criminality.
Three people from Aberdeen and Liverpool were arrested for disqualified driving, possession of controlled drugs, money laundering, being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs and police obstruction.
Six vehicles were seized for the driver having no insurance or driving licence, two vehicles were seized for being used in crime and several vehicles and their occupants searched and given fixed penalty notices for offences ranging from having no insurance to police obstruction.
HM Customs & Excise checked more than 150 vehicles for red diesel but all were found to be in order.
And several people were checked by the UK Border Agency regarding potential immigration offences but no wrong-doing was found.
Led by the Roads Policing Unit, the operation involved Cumbria Police’s Tactical Support Group, dog section, CID, local officers and Special Constables from every area of the force.
The operation was conducted on several static sites across the whole county.
Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow, in overall charge of the operation, said: “This is a positive indication that these type of operations are having an impact as, on previous operations, numerous vehicles have been seized for red diesel offences.
“The penalties are extremely high and the continuing threat of being caught is clearly making people think twice before trying to avoid paying fuel duty.”
The Department of Work & Pensions Fraud Investigation Teams also made checks on individuals suspected of claiming benefits while working.
The Vehicle Operator Service Agency prohibited ten vehicles for a variety of offences, including a HGV driver behind the wheel an ‘excessive’ number of hours, defective tyres and a severely overweight goods vehicle – all of which have the potential to be the cause of a serious or fatal collision, police said.
Trading Standards officers dealt with issues relating to rogue traders and others focused on animal health – ensuring correct documentation and transportation regulations were adhered to.
Both sides of the Trading Standards Enforcement Team reported that the day had been a valuable intelligence gathering opportunity which will contribute to the prevention and detection of offences.
As the operation moved into the evening phase, Cumbria Police's Wildlife Crime Officers were joined by local gamekeepers and poacher-watch volunteers together with the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and National Trust, to conduct poaching patrols of the rural parts of the county.
These patrols are part of ongoing work with rural communities to tackle poaching offences and other wildlife crime and are conducted in both marked and unmarked vehicles.
The multi-agency collaboration aims to protect rural businesses and communities, together with wildlife and environmental protection issues.
Chief Inspector Kevin Greenhow added: “Although in the bigger picture, Cumbria remains an extremely safe place to live, work and enjoy, there are certain individuals whose criminal activities impinge on the quality of life in our county.”