Only seven vehicles stopped during day of operation in Bury St Edmunds found to be roadworthy


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Only seven of more than 40 vehicles stopped by police and partner agencies were found to be roadworthy during an operation targeting criminals using Suffolk’s road network.

Operation Mermaid, conducted by Suffolk and Norfolk Roads Policing and Firearms Operation Unit, the Dog Section and Suffolk Special Constabulary, was held between 8am and 3.30pm on Wednesday.

During the operation 44 vehicles were stopped in total.

Using the Rougham Lorry Park in Bury St Edmunds as a base, officers patrolled the main road networks and surrounding villages in the area with an aim of targeting and disrupting criminal activity.

When possible, trucks, light good vehicles and coaches were stopped and escorted to the site where partner agencies including the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) did additional checks and examinations.

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Nine vehicles were given immediate prohibitions by the DVSA, while eight were given delayed prohibitions – meaning defects needed to be fixed as quickly as possible.

More than 50 advisory notices were given.

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Police gave 27 traffic offence reports for offences including driving with no seatbelt, driving with an insecure load, driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition, driving while using a mobile phone and driving with defective brakes or tyres.

Two people were reported for summons, and reported to the Health and Safety Executive, over the transportation of a hazardous material and one vehicle owner was interviewed and reported for transporting an overweight load on a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

All vehicles stopped were tested for rebated fuel by HMRC, with a Vauxhall Vivaro found to contain pure red diesel and the driver fined over £500.

Sergeant Julian Ditcham, who ran the operation of the site, said; “We carry out these regular checks to make our roads safer and, as demonstrated by the number of offences found, there is a need to continue them to deal with drivers and vehicles that are potentially dangerous to other road users.”

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore says: “Operations, such as Operation Mermaid staged in Rougham, clearly show how combining expertise and working together pays dividends for the people of Suffolk.

“It is a clear message to criminals that the constabulary is on the case and makes it clear to drivers that unroadworthy vehicles will be removed from our roads.”

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