A total of 2,500 vehicles have been seized in a crackdown on car insurance dodgers in Staffordshire – enough to stretch to 10,000 metres if placed end to end.
Cars Behind Bars was instigated by Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis and has proved popular with people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
The campaign carried out by Staffordshire Police has seen 2,500 cars, vans, motorcycles, mopeds, lorries and even a tractor seized – with around a third of these scrapped - since it was launched in May 2013.
Mr Ellis said: “Although it was launched over a year ago, the crackdown on insurance dodgers remains far and away the most popular thing raised with me by people I’ve spoken to across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
“Over 2,500 people have now had to learn their lesson the hard way thanks to tremendous work by officers from Staffordshire Police. Those who drive without insurance can’t hide in Staffordshire. They are being caught and dealt with by having their vehicles seized and, in many cases, scrapped.
“It’s definitely struck a chord with law-abiding motorists who are hit by rising premiums because of these law-breakers. Why should all pay more because some people don’t pay at all?
“It’s clear that the message is hitting home as the number of insured motorists on Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent roads has risen significantly during the crackdown.”
Some of the vehicles seized since the campaign launched can be viewed at www.staffordshire.police.uk/carsbehindbars
Cars Behind Bars uses Staffordshire’s extensive automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system that identifies those flouting the law.
Chief Superintendent Jon Drake, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Staffordshire has an extensive ANPR system which allows us to identify vehicles that are uninsured, as well as those that have no tax or suspected of being involved in other crimes.
“This is part of daily activities for officers who seek out and target those committing these offences. We often find that those who choose to drive on our roads without insurance are linked to other criminal offences such as theft and burglary.”
The fixed penalty fine for people who are caught without insurance was increased nationally from £200 to £300 in August 2013. Motorists also face their car being seized, could be summoned to court and be disqualified, and an endorsement of six penalty points. Drivers re-claiming their car when they have proof of insurance have to pay £150 car recovery costs plus £20 per day storage.