Scrap metal theft operation in Barnstaple also uncovers a series of driving offences.

NO MOT or insurance were among the motoring offences uncovered by police during a day of action in Barnstaple.

The effort saw some 15 officers take part in Operation Tornado – aimed at cracking down on the theft and illegal sale of scrap metal – but uncovered other crimes too.

Of 85 vehicles stopped, three had no MOT, one had no insurance and another was driven without a valid licence. One had no tax.

Officers also took action over four vehicles with defects, while three were reported for defective tyres and advice was issued on faulty lights. One person was found to be in possession of a controlled drug.

The multi agency initiative also included ANPR (number plate recognition) cameras together with HM Customs officers, VOSA vehicle examiners and council officers.

One local scrapyard was visited and police said ‘significant issues needed to be addressed’, with investigations ongoing.

“It was a very productive day in Barnstaple that sent out a positive message to the public. Thank you to the other agencies who supported us on the day,” said Sergeant David Williams at Barnstaple.

Operation Tornado is a national initiative led by British Transport Police, following a tightening of the laws regarding sale of scrap metal.