Police stop hundreds of vehicles in Braintree in a bid to reduce crime

MORE than 265 vehicles were stopped and checked during a major operation in Braintree to increase road safety and reduce crime.

Operation Surround A Town on Wednesday, September 11 involved more than 30 police officers carrying out roadside checks and mobile patrols around the town.

The operation was also part of Essex County Council’s three-year No Excuse campaign to tackle motoring offences and raise awareness that there is no excuse for offences such as speeding, driving while using a mobile phone, not wearing seat belts or driving without insurance or valid driving documents.

Offenders were identified by officers patrolling in cars or on motorcycles or through Automatic Number Plate (ANPR) technology and vehicles were escorted to check sites at Galleys Corner and near Tescos at Marks Farm.

Two uninsured vehicles were seized, 56 vehicles had no MOT, 21 drivers were using mobile phones, 26 people were not wearing seat belts and two drivers were stopped for speeding.

Three of the drivers stopped for using mobiles phones were commercial vehicle drivers including one man driving a fully-loaded car transporter.

The MOT offenders were each given £100 fixed penalty notices and those stopped for seat belt, mobile phone and speeding offences were referred to driver retraining courses.

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Thirty other motoring offences were dealt with and 31 verbal warnings were issued.

Twenty drivers were also warned about illegally tinted windows and were able to continue their journeys after the stick-on tint material was removed.

Essex road safety officers were at the check sites and gave advice to drivers who were stopped by police officers. They were also involved in community road safety events in the town.

Braintree District Council officers carried out checks on 45 taxis and waste carrier vehicles and an officer from British Transport Police checked commercial vehicles for signs of any thefts from railways.

Essex Police’s casualty reduction manager Adam Pipe said: “Our Surround A Town operations are carried out across the county and we are pleased that the results from Wednesday show that there has been a significant reduction in the number of traffic offences committed in the Braintree area.

“We believe that more people are using seats belts, fewer people are using mobile phones at the wheel and that speeding offences have decreased. But these offences are still happening and all those stopped for seat belt, phone and speeding offences have accepted the option of a retraining course rather than a fine.

“Essex Police is a strong supporter of offering offending drivers a retraining course rather than fines and penalty points and we are confident that the courses are helping to change driver behaviour.”