Torridge blitz on motorists in road safety campaign

POLICE and partner agencies mounted an extensive operation in Bideford on Friday aimed at promoting safe road use. Operation Cruise, between 3pm and midnight, was launched after a residents survey highlighted two key concerns - anti-social driving and sp

POLICE and partner agencies mounted an extensive operation in Bideford on Friday aimed at promoting safe road use.

Operation Cruise, between 3pm and midnight, was launched after a residents' survey highlighted two key concerns - anti-social driving and speeding in built up areas.

Speed cameras were set up at various points, including Westward Ho!, Northam and East-the-Water.

Number plate recognition cameras were also in use and the Vehicle and Operators' Service Agency (VOSA) set up an inspection area on the Pill car park.


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The number plate recognition cameras scanned 3,800 vehicles and alerted traffic units to those indicating document offences or vehicles known to be involved in crime.

A constant flow of vehicles were directed to the inspection area, where 18 were immediately prohibited for defects, ranging from illegal tyres, defective lights and exhaust systems. Six of the vehicles were known for anti-social driving.

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The DVLA clamped eight vehicles with a release fee of �260 for vehicle excise offences and issued tickets to three others.

Local traffic officers and mobile patrols issued a large number of tickets for a range of offences, including illegal tyres, seat belt use, mobile phone use, misuse of fog lights and speeding.

One young driver was recorded driving at 69mph on a 30mph road.

There were arrests for drink-driving, and possession of an offensive weapon.

A cannabis warning was given and a vehicle was seized for failing to stop.

More than 100 drivers were advised regarding road safety and some were given verbal warnings for minor offences.

PC Sandy Fish, of the Bideford response unit, said: "We are committed to building safer communities and delivering the number one priority - increased public confidence in the service we provide.

"Operation Cruise was a highly visible traffic operation to tackle these priorities and reassure the community.

"Roads policing is often placed below other aspects of policing by some who view traffic law as unimportant and punitive, but it is important to remember the ease with which the travelling criminal can use the roads to commit crime, including bringing drugs into the area and moving stolen property."

PC Fish said similar operations would take place in the run-up to Christmas.

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