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Number Plate Technology Aids Crackdown on Metal Thieves

August, 5 2011

DVLA

Police in Torfaen, Wales, have turned their attention to metal thieves, after a major crackdown resulted in three arrests and three waste carrying vans being seized.

During the operation, mobile police patrols saw any suspicious or unlawful vehicles stopped and taken to a static check site for further investigation.

Torfaen police were boosted by the support from Gwent Police's Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Unit.

The ANPR cameras allowed police to scan number plates of all passing vehicles and instantly check them against a police database, providing a rapid criminal background check on the thousands of cars that passed.

In addition, police have worked closely with local scrap metal dealers to prevent any outlet for the thieves' stolen goods.

Of the three arrests that were made, one had been driving without a licence, whilst the other two had taken vehicles without the consent of their owners.

A man was also cautioned for the possession of a small amount of cannabis.

Three scrap metal carrying vans were also seized for being driven without insurance.

One driver was reported to the Environment Agency for operating without a waste carrier licence, with five other motorists hit with a £60 fine and three licence points for various other offences.

“Reducing the number of metal thefts in Torfaen is a priority for us at the moment," explained PC Andrew Boucher, coordinator of the operation.

“This operation shows that we are taking strong action to apprehend offenders and stop this type of crime.”

Field Investigator for BT's local network business Openreach, Richie Evans, revealed: “Cable theft is increasing in Wales and this causes huge inconvenience for our customers, many of whom regard their telephone as a lifeline.

“That’s why we are delighted to be part of this excellent police initiative.”

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