Suffolk/Norfolk: More than 90 vehicles stopped by ‘operation mermaid’


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Nearly 100 vehicles were stopped by a police operation in Suffolk and Norfolk this week.

‘Operation mermaid’, held in Suffolk on Monday and Norfolk on Wednesday, resulted in 93 vehicles being stopped and checked by the counties joint roads policing unit, supported by a number of partner agencies.

Officers were joined by other specialist units, including the automatic number plate recognition and dog handler teams, along with partner agencies Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), HMRC hidden economy and tank dipping teams, the Environment Agency and Trading Standards.

In Suffolk, 37 lorries were stopped and checked by the various teams at Copdock with 16 vehicles taken off the road immediately due to serious defects identified by DVSA.

Seven delayed prohibition notices were issued along with 40 advisory defect notices while 13 fixed penalty notices were issued for driving offences.

One vehicle was seized by police after the driver was found to have no licence or insurance while two drivers were reported for these offences and will summonsed to court in due course.

Drugs dogs also searched vehicles resulting in three people being arrested for drugs offences while a fourth person was arrested on suspicion of fraud.

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Sergeant Julian Ditcham, said: “The aim of the operation was to check lorries using the A14 and A12 road network to ensure that they were abiding by the law, in order to help reduce risk on the roads.

“A number of offences were identified, including drivers with no license or insurance, vehicles in a dangerous condition, with no MOT, or with defective tyres.”

Meanwhile, in Norfolk, 56 vehicles were stopped by the police on the ring road in Norwich resulting in six being seized for no insurance.

Three vehicles were given prohibition notices; two for being overweight and another for defective tyres.

Drivers were also dealt with for offences of speeding, driving while using a mobile phone, contravening a bus lane, and various defects including lights, windscreens and exhausts.

Chief Inspector Chris Spinks, head of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said: “This operation was a great success and I’d like to praise all of those involved for their hard work in helping to make our roads safer by taking both dangerous vehicles and drivers off the roads.

“Vehicles travelling on our roads in a dangerous condition clearly pose a threat to those behind the wheel and other road users.

“Some people consider defects such as low tyre tread as minor but the consequences of using a vehicle in that condition will mean increased stopping distance particularly in wet conditions.”