Crush hour! Car scrapping scheme hailed as a success

PUBLISHED: 12:15 17 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

One of the crushed cars

One of the crushed cars

A CLAMPDOWN on uninsured drivers who claim lives reached a significant milestone on Monday. During the first year of the campaign, 4,700 illegal vehicles, including some high value motors, have been taken off the roads of Hertfordshire. And to celebrate,

A CLAMPDOWN on uninsured drivers who claim lives reached a significant milestone on Monday.

During the first year of the campaign, 4,700 illegal vehicles, including some high value motors, have been taken off the roads of Hertfordshire.

And to celebrate, the county's top police officer was about to reduce one of these vehicles to the size of a cardboard box.

As the engine of the machine used to destroy the car started to roar, Chief Constable Frank Whiteley said: "Over the past 12 months, we have seized some 4,700 vehicles and about 2,800 of them have been crushed.

"Those vehicles are never going to be driven on our roads again and those people who chose to reclaim their vehicles have had to pay a heavy price."

Then the white Ford Escort was lowered into the jaws of the machine and Mr Whiteley stepped forward to push the button that would make it into scrap metal.

This car was seized under the Organised and Serious Crime Act.

This legislation, which was introduced in August 2005, allows officers to confiscate any vehicle being driven without motor insurance or a licence.

The car is then held in a secure compound and the owner will be billed £105 for the recovery of the vehicle and an additional £12 a day storage charge.

After 14 days, if the driver cannot prove they hold insurance or the appropriate licence, the vehicle will be crushed.

Among the haul still waiting to be destroyed is a Maserati Spider worth £60,000, a BMW 320d worth £25,000 and a Mitsubishi Shogun worth £20,000.

Ian Dowse, from the force's recovery department, said: "This shows it is not just the rough old vehicles that are being stopped."

He said the operation would reduce the number of deaths on the roads.

Mr Dowse said: "From my previous job as an accident investigator I can say that a lot of road deaths can be attributed to those who drive without a licence or insurance.

"Using this legislation we have seen a significant reduction in the number of fatal accidents.

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