Wiltshire Police teamed up with partner agencies to tackle rural crime and road safety issues in Marlborough yesterday.

At various locations across Marlborough teams focused on stopping agricultural and farm vehicles, including 4x4s, scrap collection vehicles and vehicles pulling trailers, completing vehicle, fuel and license checks.

Partners involved included; Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and Wiltshire Council.

Focusing on all traffic offences, cars were checked in order to prevent and detect criminality carried out on the roads in and around Marlborough.

The operation allowed officers to restrict the use of the road network for travelling criminals. Wiltshire Council were out checking waste carriers, brokers and dealers for scrap metal and licenses.

HM Revenue and Customs were looking at vehicles contravening customs regulations using rebated fuel known as Red Diesel and the transportation and distribution of illegal tobacco and alcohol.

VOSA carried out vehicle licensing, testing and enforcement activity at the roadside to ensure compliance with road safety legislation and environmental standards.

Working in partnership, yesterday helped to increase public safety and confidence and allow partnership agencies to carry out their work in support of police activity.

The day of action was led by community intelligence which is received via the two rural crime watch schemes, Horse Watch and Farm Watch. For more information on how to join one of the schemes please visit the www.wiltshire.police.uk website.

Results from the day of action include:

• Over 350 cars were stopped throughout the day (including 4x4, Transit vans, vehicles towing)

• One £100 fine was issued for displaying two different number plates

• Over 30 nominals stopped and intelligence gathered (over ten searches were carried out). Positive intelligence will be fed back to partner agencies for future use

• One vehicle was found to be overweight as per the legal road limit

• Two vehicles were found using red diesel which resulted in an automatic £500 fine, a requirement to empty tank and clean the filter within 24 hours

• One motorist was caught driving whilst using a mobile phone

• One £100 fine and three points issued for bold tyres

• Three vehicle defect notices issued

• One trailer seized for not being roadworthy, £100 fine for defective lights and registration plate not compliant with legislation

• One prohibition of a lorry

• Transit van found to be overweight. The driver was given a total fine of £800

• Two drivers fined for having no MOTs

• Three vehicles were seized for having no insurance – two fixed penalty notices issued; total of 6 points and £300 fine each.

One drivers vehicle was seized and points on license exceeded maximum limit, summons to attend court -Two people reported for driving on provisional license and have been summonds to court

• One ticket was issued to a driver not wearing a seat belt

• Two drivers were caught with no license

• One fixed penalty notice was given for possession of cannabis

• 90% of vehicles stopped in the day of action were fuel dipped by HMRC.

PCSO John Bordiss of the Rural Crime Team and PC Dave Tippetts Community Beat Manager for Marlborough Neighbourhood Policing Team led on the day of action.

PCSO John Bordiss of the Rural Crime Team said: “The joint partnership day was a huge success and enabled all involved to prevent and detect criminality on the roads in and around Marlborough.

"The results highlight the number of vehicles using rebated fuel, and the poor condition of some of the agricultural and farm vehicles being used on the roads in Marlborough. It is key these vehicles are removed from use on the roads to protect and safeguard other road users.

“The operation is part of ongoing work to reduce rural crime not just in Marlborough but across the county. Our visible presence with support of our partners should be a reminder to criminals that we are committed to preventing crime and protecting our public.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson was at Marlborough Police Station yesterday to sit in on the briefing for officers and staff ahead of the operation.

He said: “I was pleased to give my support to this operation because of its rural focus.

“Wiltshire is a rural county and so rural crime is an important issue. I intend to look closely at the needs of the rural community by conducting a rural crime survey and then organising a rural crime forum to discuss the survey results.

“The operation in and around the Marlborough area brought together roads policing and rural crime team officers and PCSOs and it was good to see our partners, VOSA, HMRC and Wiltshire Council working closely alongside the constabulary.”

Bob Gaiger, HMRC spokesman said: “HMRC were working with our enforcement partners at this multi-agency exercise to tackle tax evasion related crime. We were primarily checking for duty and tax offences associated with illegal road fuel use, however, our officers were also looking for any smuggled goods being transported.”

“If anyone has information about fuel fraud we would encourage them to contact the Customs Hotline on 0800 59 5000.”

Two motorists had their vehicles seized for illegal fuel use and received on the spot penalties of over £500 each. If you have any information regarding any issues please call Wiltshire Police non-emergency number on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.