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UPDATED: Police target antisocial driving and criminal activity in Shropshire

West Mercia Police Safer Neighbourhood Team for South Shropshire have listened to concerns raised by local residents and looked to address these by running Operation Vulture, aimed at disrupting and preventing night-time criminality and targeting those involved in rural crime across Shropshire.

The police operation took place last Wednesday and Thursday (19 and 20 June), and saw officers carry out checks in various policing areas, stop-checking vehicles and occupants where there were grounds to do so and using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems to target individuals believed to be associated with criminal activity.

Wednesday evening saw officers stop 86 vehicles in total and of those vehicles stopped, made three arrests in connection with driving under the influence of drugs, issued one Community Resolution Order to someone found to be in possession of cannabis, and seized one vehicle and reported its driver for traffic offences.

A total of 69 vehicles were stopped on Thursday, and officers identified a suspicious vehicle with cloned number plates. This led to a police pursuit to try to apprehend the vehicle and its occupants, however in making their escape, the suspects' vehicle collided with a hedge and the occupants fled into nearby fields. The National Police Air Service (NPAS) deployed a helicopter to track them and all five suspects were located and arrested a short time later. A firearm was also seized a few metres away from the vehicle.

Officers also arrested an individual on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, possession of an offensive weapon, driving without insurance, a valid MOT certificate or a valid driving license. Their vehicle was subsequently seized.

A further arrest was made in connection with driving under the influence of drugs and another individual was issued a ticket in relation to traffic offences.

South Shropshire Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Nicola Roberts said: "The aim of the operation was to enable officers to address antisocial driving and target criminals known to be involved in crime, with a particular focus on rural crime, while promoting road safety so we are pleased with these results and hope they demonstrate another day of activity to tackle vehicle crime within the county.

"We continue to work hard to prevent and disrupt further offences, and hope the public are reassured that we are taking vehicle crime and rural crime very seriously.

"Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to remind anyone who is thinking of committing vehicle crime or rural crime within Shropshire that Operation Vulture is in progress, and the chance of you getting caught is real and significant."

Updated: 3.55pm, Monday, 24 June, LK, Corporate Communications

Published 24/06/19