Taxi driver under the influence of drugs caught during roads crackdown by police in Norfolk
- Credit: Ian Burt
A taxi driver under the influence of drugs while carrying a customer was among 70 vehicles stopped during a police operation targeting criminals using Norfolk's roads.
About 60 officers and staff from government agencies such as HM Revenue and Customs, Trading Standards and the UK Border Agency took part in the Operation Alliance event in Thetford.
Police motorcyclists patrolled the A11, A134, B1106, A1075 and A1066, along with surrounding roads, using the car park at Forest Retail Park in London Road as a checkpoint area.
Officers used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to identify vehicles of interest and also pulled over vehicles which showed signs they may be unsafe.
Fuel testing, drug checks and vehicle examinations were all carried out, with more than 40 traffic offence reports (TORs) issued for offences including uninsured and unlicensed vehicles, vehicles without a valid MOT and for those failing to wear a seat belt.
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A total of five drivers tested positive for driving under the influence of drugs, including a taxi driver who was transporting a customer.
Another vehicle which was stopped during the operation was found to be overloaded by 32pc of its gross weight.
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Early in the afternoon of Monday, June 12 - when the action day took place - there was a pursuit of a driver who failed to stop for officers.
Shortly afterwards, the vehicle was stopped and the driver was arrested for dangerous driving, failing to stop, no insurance and no valid licence.
Sgt Peter Howlett, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit, said large scale operations of this nature are valuable in disrupting criminal activity.
He said: 'More than 70 offences were detected in total during the operation and I extremely pleased with the results.
'I am thankful for my colleagues and partners for their ongoing support and hope this sends a clear message to those who break the law.
'We have taken several dangerous offenders off the road and have reiterated that any deviations from the law will be dealt with stringently.
'Remember, if you fail to insure and MOT your vehicle, use drink or drugs, speed or use your mobile phone whilst driving, you put everyone's lives at risk - not just your own.'
During the action day, Sgt Howlett said officers were 'looking to reduce criminality and prevent criminals using the road network'.
He added: 'We are looking to reinforce our fatal four offences, which are: don't speed, wear a seatbelt, don't drink or take drugs when you're driving and don't use a mobile phone.
'It is important for us to get the message out there to people that we are going to keep doing this.
'We are going to enforce the road traffic law and we are going to prevent criminals from using the road network. And we will hopefully recover property.'
The Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Policing Unit was joined by officers from Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire for the action day, which coincided with the summer drink drive campaign.
Officers from the counties' joint dog section were also involved.
The operation will be carried out across various parts of the eastern region during this week.