MORE than 270 drivers were stopped and 10 vehicles seized during a 15-hour police crackdown on Bexley’s roads on Tuesday.
News Shopper reporter SAM CHRISTIE witnessed Operation Cubo in action.
HUNDREDS of passing motorists were blissfully unaware their number plates were being traced by an unmarked police car during the force’s latest crackdown on uninsured drivers.
The new equipment uses in-car cameras mounted to the front and back of the vehicle to pick up registration plates which are displayed on a screen and instantly cross-referenced with its database to see if they check out.
As Bexley Police’s Chief Inspector Mike Loebenberg was about to pull out into Blendon Road he spotted a woman driving with a mobile phone, and quick as a flash switched on the sirens and darted after her to pull her over.
The automatic number plate recognition system displayed “no current keeper”, and after a call to the police headquarters – despite her tearful pleas for mercy because “it is Christmas” – the removal team were called in.
The 29-year-old woman did not have valid car insurance, and was hit with a £200 fine and a six point penalty on her licence.
She told officers the black Mini One was bought at auction and she had borrowed it to drive to pick her child up from the nearby school.
“If the owner had offered to put her on the insurance policy she would have been fine,” said Mr Loebenberg. “The message here is you need to give full honest answers to the insurance company. It’s come about because she hasn’t given the full facts.”
The Mini was one of ten vehicles seized by the 30 officers across the borough during Tuesday’s operation between 7am and 10pm.
A total of 26 fixed penalty notices were handed out, 35 drivers breathalysed, all negative, and no arrests made.
It was the London-wide operation’s 14th day of action and takes the total number of vehicles seized in Bexley to 91 since it was launched by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe in October 2011.
“It’s part of what the crime commissioner describes as the ‘total war on crime’, denying criminals use of London’s roads who are putting the public at risk,” added Mr Loebenberg.