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Police operation which has led to 1,000 arrests set to target Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 09:22 20 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 20 April 2019

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green. Picture: Chris Bishop

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green. Picture: Chris Bishop

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Technology which has led police to almost 1,000 arrests will soon be watching over Great Yarmouth.

An ANPR camera scans vehicle number plates, to see if they are of interest to police  Picture: Simon FinlayAn ANPR camera scans vehicle number plates, to see if they are of interest to police Picture: Simon Finlay

Operation Moonshot was first launched in west Norfolk three years ago.

It uses automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras which provide live intelligence to officers on patrol.

Since April 2016, police have made 679 arrests, seized hundreds of uninsured or unroadworthy vehicles and found large quantities of drugs and stolen property.

Officers check over a car flagged up by the system  Picture: Simon FinlayOfficers check over a car flagged up by the system Picture: Simon Finlay

Now Moonshot is moving into Yarmouth, where the system of fixed and vehicle-mounted cameras is expected to go live in June.

Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green revealed he was making £190,000 available to set up the system in the east of the county after he attended a day of action on the roads around King's Lynn.

Officers used the technology to look for uninsured, untaxed or unroadworthy vehicles, along with those suspected of being linked to crime.

Police seized these drugs as part of Operation Moonshot. Picture: Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team.Police seized these drugs as part of Operation Moonshot. Picture: Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team.

They seized six cars and a transit pick-up, and made three arrests in the space of just over five hours on Thursday.

Mr Green said: “We're hoping before the beginning of the main holiday season to extend Moonshot to the east of our county.

“This is part of the progress of what I call the ring of steel around our county.

Weapons recovered as part of Operation Moonshot  Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyWeapons recovered as part of Operation Moonshot Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

“It's to ensure that there's full coverage across the county of this marvellous technology that allows us to ensure that our roads are safe and we can more easily detect people who are coming into the county with malign intentions.”

Moonshot was first launched as a trial on the A1101 between Downham Market and Wisbech.

It was so successful that officers seconded to it were made a permanent team, while the technology was extended across west Norfolk.

Stolen property recovered as part of Operation Moonshot. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyStolen property recovered as part of Operation Moonshot. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

The operation was rolled out to areas of Norwich in November 2018, to provide what Chief Constable Simon Bailey described as “increased opportunity to disrupt organised criminality within the city”.

Since then some 304 arrests have been made on the city's roads by officers using ANPR.

Mr Green said that the technology had been “an outstanding success”.

Officers check vehicles are taxed, insured and roadworthy durign an action day in King's Lynn  Picture: Chris BishopOfficers check vehicles are taxed, insured and roadworthy durign an action day in King's Lynn Picture: Chris Bishop

An ANPR camera scans the roads  Picture: Simon FinlayAn ANPR camera scans the roads Picture: Simon Finlay

Pursuit riders are part of the Moonshot team  Picture: Ian BurtPursuit riders are part of the Moonshot team Picture: Ian Burt

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