Officers from Cumbria Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit and Neighbourhood Policing Teams have seized over 400 unfit vehicles from the county’s roads over the last 12 months.

A total of 433 vehicles have been seized from Cumbria’s roads over the last year which means that on average, 36 were uplifted every month. This is a result of a proactive effort by police around the county to target uninsured, unfit vehicles in a bid to make road networks safer.

It follows research conducted by the Department for Transport in April 2009 which estimates that uninsured and untraced drivers kill 160 people and injure a further 23,000 every year on the UK’s road networks. Police officers have a legal power under the road traffic act to seize any vehicle which is uninsured, or where the driver has an unsuitable licence.

Inspector Andy Wilkinson from Cumbria's Roads Policing Unit said: "Reducing collisions and denying criminals the use of our county’s roads are priorities for Cumbria Constabulary.

“As well as the criminal consequences of driving while uninsured or without a licence, irresponsible drivers commonly cause collisions which means that all road users are put in danger.

“To tackle this issue, officers around the county conduct routine patrols of our roads with the intention of stopping illegal motorists in their tracks to make the lives of law abiding road users safer. The purpose of seizing vehicles is to remove illegal, and in the majority of instances unroadworthy, vehicles from our roads."

In addition to facing criminal prosecution, owners and drivers of vehicles that are seized have to pay costs to have their vehicle stored and then recovered. If vehicles are no recovered by their owners, they are destroyed.

Inspector Wilkinson added: “The busiest month for seizing vehicles was in May 2010 when 49 were recovered. Targeting irresponsible drivers and seizing unroadworthy vehicles will remain a main focus for the team in 2011.”

Anyone with information about the illegal use of vehicles, uninsured or unlicensed drivers, should contact Cumbria Police on 0845 33 00 247. For further information, visit: