CROSS-border criminals were targeted by police in a major operation near Worksop involving three forces.
The fortnight-long Operation Deny was aimed at cracking down on scrap metal wagons carrying stolen goods from one county to another.
Police and vehicle examiners from VOSA were pulling wagons in for checking on a side road at Apley Head.
The vehicles were examined for defects and weighed to make sure they were not carrying more than the legal weight limit.
Their registrations and contents were also checked to make sure they weren’t stolen.
Officers from Notts, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire police were involved in the project.
The all-day operation at Apley Head was led by Sgt Pete Brand from Mansfield.
He said: “We’re chose this position because it’s on the A614, which is a main arterial road leading to the A1.”
“We’ve also done two similar vehicle stops at Mansfield and Ashfield.”
“Theft of scrap metal is a big problem in the area. Scrap metal merchants are supposed to check the ID of anyone selling it to them, but they don’t always, so we have been revisiting them to make sure they are aware of their legal obligations.”
“We find that scrap metal stolen in one county is then taken to another county to be sold on.”
“It is taken from former pits and abandoned factories, from new build houses and from railways, so we are also working with the British Transport Police.”
“We’ve also had BT involved because of stolen cabling.”
He said they were also working with Bassetlaw Council to check that wagon owners had the relevant waste transfer licence.
Sgt Brand said they were also on the look-out for the most popular types of cloned vehicles – stolen with false number plates put on. These included Transit vans, Range Rovers, Nissan Nevadas, VW Golfs and Audi A4s. Land Rovers are also targeted for parts.
While at Apley Head the officers arrested a passenger in a wagon who was wanted in connection with organised theft from gaming machines in Derbyshire.
Several drivers were also given fines and points for having overweight vehicles, bald tyres and other vehicle defects.
Around 16 officers took part in the Apley Head operation, with seven police cars out and about pulling vehicles in.
The Guardian went out with Retford-based PC Mark Talbot, who was one of the drivers.
He spotted a white Transit at Manton which sounded like it had a defective exhaust but was discovered to be roadworthy.
But when he pulled the driver over to ask him to follow him to the checkpoint, he received a mouthful of abuse from the driver.
PC Talbot said: “We get spoken to a lot like that. You get used to it after a while and have to learn not to let it affect you.”
A Mondeo being driven by a man known to the police was checked out in Retford but proved to be legitimate.
PC Talbot said: “None of the information we pick up is wasted though, it all goes to intelligence and helps us to build up a bigger picture of who is doing what and who is mixing with who.”
He also questioned a van driver who wasn’t wearing a seat belt. “A lot of people seem to assume that if you’re in a van you don’t have to wear a seat belt, but they are wrong,” he said.
West Bassetlaw Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Steve Cartwright said the fortnight’s results for Operation Deny included a vehicle being seized because the driver didn’t have the correct driving licence, and five immediate prohibitions – vehicles prevented from driving any further because they were in a dangerous condition.
There were two overweight offences, one potential offence in relation to a waste transfer licence, a tachograph offence and one relating to record keeping.
He said 35 vehicles were inspected in total.