Cars seized in crackdown

Ian Henderson prepares to tow away an untaxed car on behalf of the DVLA at Seaham. as part of a police operation to remove untaxed vehicles from public highways in East Durham.
Ian Henderson prepares to tow away an untaxed car on behalf of the DVLA at Seaham. as part of a police operation to remove untaxed vehicles from public highways in East Durham.

POLICE have seized dozens of vehicles after a blitz on illegal motorists.

Cleveland Police snatched 79 vehicles in the first six months of this year in Hartlepool after motorists were stopped for not having a licence or insurance or for anti-social driving.

The Hartlepool Mail launched its Tow the Line campaign to highlight the dangers of illegal driving and warn people police are on the look-out.

The latest figures show police seized 62 vehicles in the town after motorists were found behind the wheel despite having no insurance.

In the same period five others were snatched after people were caught driving anti-socially and there were 12 where motorists did not have a licence.

The Mail launched its Tow the Line campaign after a change in the law allowed police to seize vehicles and they will only be released upon production of proper documentation.

A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: “These powers are being used all the time.

“Anyone taking the risk of driving without a licence or insurance must remember we are being very pro-active to have these vehicles seized.

“It has been very positive throughout the force area and it has been found that we are bringing quite a number in.

“It is forcing people to take insurance out to reclaim their vehicles.”

People who have vehicles seized must pay a fine of up to £200, and a charge of £150, plus a £20 a day fee to recover their vehicle.

They must also have all of their documents before they can get their vehicles back.

The spokesman added: “The law states that to take a vehicle out on the road it must be insured and you must have a licence to drive it.

“Uninsured and unlicensed drivers do cost money to prosecute, so the more we have that are legally on the road, the less cost there is to law-abiding members of the public.

“This law is not going to go anywhere, it is an ongoing process where vehicles are checked and the information gained will go on a database.

“So we will have all the details and we will be able to take appropriate action.”