Over 3,750 vehicles have been seized by Staffordshire Police officers in a landmark crackdown on car insurance dodgers.
Cars Behind Bars was instigated by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis and has proved popular with people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The campaign carried out by Staffordshire Police has seen 3,772 cars, vans, motorcycles, mopeds, lorries and even a tractor seized – with over 1,200 vehicles scrapped – since it was launched in May 2013.
More than 70 higher-value uninsured vehicles have been sold off at auction with the proceeds going back into local communities in Staffordshire.
The number of car insurance dodgers in Staffordshire is being driven down as the crackdown gathers pace. Annual figures released by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau show there were an estimated 1,214 fewer uninsured vehicles on the road in Staffordshire in 2014 compared to 2013.
Mr Ellis said, “The crackdown on insurance dodgers remains far and away the most popular thing raised with me by people I’ve spoken to across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
“Over 3,750 people have had to learn their lesson the hard way thanks to tremendous work by officers from Staffordshire Police, which has really gained momentum in recent months. It’s clear that the message is hitting home as the number of insured motorists on Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent roads has risen significantly.
“Those who drive without insurance can’t hide in Staffordshire, they are being caught and dealt with by having their vehicles seized and, in many cases, scrapped or sold at auction. It’s definitely struck a chord with law-abiding motorists who are hit by rising premiums because of these law-breakers. Why should all pay more because some people don’t pay at all?”
Some of the vehicles seized since the campaign launched can be viewed at www.staffordshire.police.uk/carsbehindbars.
Cars Behind Bars uses Staffordshire’s extensive automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system that identifies those flouting the law.
Assistant Chief Constable Jon Drake, from Staffordshire Police, said, “Thanks to Staffordshire’s extensive ANPR network system we are able to identify vehicles that are uninsured, as well as those that have no tax or are suspected of being involved in other crimes.
“We are committed to this area of policing and on a daily basis our officers seek out and target those committing these offences. ANPR is a vital tool in our crime-fighting armoury, as all too often those who choose to drive on our roads without insurance are linked to other criminal offences such as theft and burglary.”
The fixed penalty fine for people who are caught without insurance was increased nationally from £200 to £300 in 2013. Motorists also face their car being seized, could be summoned to court and be disqualified, and an endorsement of six penalty points. Drivers re-claiming their car when they have proof of insurance have to pay £150 car recovery costs plus £20 per day storage.