Seven arrests in joint policing operation

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A THREE day operation designed to tackle cross border crime along the A5 between Warwickshire and Leicestershire has resulted in seven arrests.

Officers from both forces worked together using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to patrol ‘hot spot’ areas.

Representatives from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) also joined officers on ‘Operation Incentive’ which ran for three nights on September 20, 21 and 22 and was designed to tackle metal theft; theft from curtain sided lorries and burglary.

ANPR is a computerised system that allows number plates to be read by a camera. The number is then fed through a variety of databases including PNC (Police National Computer) and the DVLA. When the camera records a number plate that causes a ‘hit’ on one of the databases, the computer system alerts the operator who will stop the vehicle and deal with what has caused the ‘hit’. An average of 1,300 vehicles on the A5 and A426 each night were monitored by the ANPR cars.

Four men from Warwickshire, aged 18, 20, 20, and 33, were arrested near to the Gibbert Island, just over the border in Warwickshire on Wednesday, September 20 on suspicion of going equipped. They were dealt with for a number of other offences including possession of cannabis, Two Fixed Penalty Notices were also issued on this night for failing to have an MoT.

On Thursday, September 21 three men also from Warwickshire and aged 19, 30 and 34, were arrested on suspicion of theft on the A5 at Smockington Hollow in Leicestershire. A quantity of cabling and a number of industrial batteries were recovered and officers are trying to establish who it belongs too. All three men were released on police bail. Also on that night one person was dealt with for speeding and VOSA staff gave out four prohibition notices for motoring offences.

On Friday, September 22 three men were stopped on the A5 near to Gibbert Island on suspicion of petrol theft but, after searches were completed, were released without any further action.

Sergeant Steve Bunn from Lutterworth Police Station organised the operation with PC Paul Hardwick. He said; “Working with officers from Warwickshire Police and the use of ANPR was key to the success of this operation. We know criminals travel along the A5 as they avoid using the motorway which is under greater surveillance. Not only have we made a significant number of arrests we’ve also recovered a quantity of cabling and batteries which we believe may be stolen. We’ve also gathered a lot of useful information and disrupted other suspected offenders on each night with some good stop checks and the intelligence gained will help us in future operations.

“Working with officers from another Force means we can share resources and intelligence and tackle the people who are committing crime in both Force areas. It’s been a great success and is the beginning of more joint work along our shared border.”