Police launch crackdown on metal thefts

MOTORISTS were stopped for a string of offences when police in north Derbyshire set up eight roadside checkpoints aimed at catching criminals involved in metal theft.

Derbyshire Police joined forces with companies affected by metal theft, including BT Openreach and the utility company E-ON.

British Transport Police officers were also involved in the operation because of the number of thefts that take place on the railway network.

The checkpoints were set up at eight spots, including Bolsover and Chesterfield, and were aimed at stopping vehicles to check they were not carrying stolen metal.

Drivers were also checked against national intelligence systems.

A total of 24 motorists were found to be driving with out a vehicle excise licence, one was arrested for driving whilst disqualified and 15 were issued with fixed penalty notices for not wearing seatbelts or using mobile phones while driving.

The Department for Work and Pensions, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and Environmental Health officers also took part in the operation.

Their checks led to 10 people being identified for possible benefit fraud and two drivers were found to be carrying waste without the proper insurance.

Another 10 cars were also deemed to be unroadworthy and the owners were issued with prohibition notices meaning they are banned from driving their vehicles until they have passed an MOT.

All scrap metal dealers in the area were also visited and their premises were searched to ensure they were not stocking stolen goods.

Sgt Sally Blaiklock, of Derbyshire Police, warned offenders that officers would continue their crackdowns.

She said: "This operation sends a clear message to those involved in serious acquisitive crime that we will continue to take every opportunity to disrupt their activities and gain intelligence about them.

"It also demonstrates the willingness of the police and our partner agencies to work together to this end."

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