6,600 Cars Behind Bars in Staffordshire

cars behind barsOver 6,600 vehicles have been seized by Staffordshire Police officers in an ongoing 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 6,622 cars, vans, motorcycles, mopeds, lorries and even a tractor seized, with over 2,669 vehicles scrapped, since it was launched in May 2013.

Meanwhile, more than 154 higher-value uninsured vehicles have been sold off at auction with the proceeds going back into local communities in Staffordshire.

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 6,300 people have had to learn their lesson the hard way thanks to tremendous work by officers from Staffordshire Police who have tackled this with real drive and enthusiasm.  Officers have been doing this important work for years, but now in a much more high profile and visible way which has gained momentum

“Those who drive without insurance can try and hide but they are likely to get caught in Staffordshire.  They are being 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?”

Progress in Staffordshire comes as the Motor Insurers’ Bureau confirmed recently that the UK’s 1.5 millionth uninsured vehicle had been seized.

Cars Behind Bars uses Staffordshire’s extensive automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system that identifies those flouting the law.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Adderley, 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.

“Staffordshire Police has recently bolstered its capability in the use of ANPR and the intelligence it provides.  Over the coming months a specific targeted campaign will focus, once again, on those who think it is acceptable to use our roads without insurance, tax or MOT and of equal importance we will target those criminals who feel they can use our roads to commit crime and travel without impunity, the cannot, and our officers will be targeting known criminals as they attempt to move freely across the county.”

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.

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