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25th Jun, 2022

Police seize Roll Royces, ice cream vans and Ferraris in 10-year crackdown on illegal vehicles

Sarah Mason 20th Jun, 2022

FERRARIS, Rolls Royces, a fork lift truck and an ice cream van are among the 100,000 illegal vehicles that have been seized by West Midlands Police over the past decade.

Operation Piranha was launched in June 2012 in response to the growing number of motor trade policies being fraudulently used to cover private vehicles.

But its remit expanded and the small team now reviews every vehicle seized and works alongside Force CID when cars are suspected to be linked to wider organised crime and County Lines drugs supply.

Last year around 11,854 vehicles were seized – mostly for being driven without insurance – with a total of 109,941 seized from across the region.

Since the start of the operation 2,117 unclaimed vehicles have been crushed and 483 vehicles sold at auction by the force.

More than £1.4-million was made through those sales – and that’s money ploughed back into crime prevention and community schemes.

PC Alex Tarbuck, who works on the team, said: “Driving an uninsured vehicle is a criminal offence and people quite rightly expect us to enforce the law.

“We do this in partnership with other organisations such as the DVLA and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

“Plus of course it can be costly for law-abiding motorists if they’re involved with a collision with someone who’s on the roads uninsured.

“Anyone caught driving without insurance faces being hit with between six to eight points on their licence, a £300 fixed penalty notice or substantial fine if the matter is pursued through the courts.”

To help catch uninsured drivers the police use ANPR camera systems that scan 1,000s of number plates an hour to help officers identify vehicles being driven without cover.

Vehicles which are seized for not being insured can be crushed or sold off at auction if the owner doesn’t obtain and provide the necessary documents to police within 14 days.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said: “Uninsured vehicles are the scourge of our roads and won’t be tolerated.

“The drivers of those vehicles are reckless, careless and a danger to us all.

“They force up insurance premiums for the law-abiding motorists and West Midlands Police’s efforts to tackle the problem over the last 10 years should be commended.”

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