Wiltshire Police have today issued more than £7,000 in fines during an operation tackling heavy goods vehicle offences on the M4.

The Operation Harness day of action took place along the M4 between junctions 14 and 15. Any vehicles stopped travelling on this stretch of the motorway were taken to a nearby weighbridge where checks were undertaken on the vehicle and the driver.

The operation involved officers from the Roads Policing Unit at Wiltshire Police, along with staff from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC).

The operation, which was undertaken in conjunction with the national Operation Mermaid initiative, targeted mainly heavy goods vehicles from all over the E.U looking at the roadworthiness of the vehicle but also the condition of the driver.

As a result of the operation:

• Approximately 60 vehicles were stopped and checked. 
• A total of £7,350 worth of fines were issued. 
• 10 vehicles were found to be overweight. 
• 4 had mechanical defects which resulted in immediate prohibition notices being served. 
• 4 had minor defects which resulted in delayed prohibition notices being served. 
• 33 fixed penalty notices were issued. 
• 1 cannabis street caution was issued. 
• Other offences included; the use of mobile phone while driving, seat belt offences, tyre offences and driving without tax and insurance. 

Head of the Roads Policing Unit at Wiltshire Police Inspector Steve Cox said: “This operation was mainly focused on heavy goods vehicles from all over the E.U and checking both the vehicles and drivers were suitable to be on our roads.

“Drivers could not have been on the motorway entering Wiltshire today without seeing police officers.

"As a result we have seen no collisions reported on this stretch of motorway – so in terms of a improving the safety of our roads, today as been a great success.

“When stopped, we looked at the physical aspect of the vehicles – checking tyres, the weight of the loads, the fuel inside the vehicle and making sure they were mechanically sound, but we also looked at the driver and how many breaks they had taken, how many hours they had been on the road etc.

“The safety of our roads depends on the condition of the vehicles driving on them and the people behind the wheel.

“Wiltshire Police will continue to work alongside other partnership agencies to ensure drivers in our county are adhering to the laws of the road.”

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, was at the briefing for officers this morning and then observed vehicles being examined at the weighbridge.

He said: “Today’s operation mirrors the activity that goes on at neighbourhood level day in and day out.

"It demonstrates that the Roads Policing Unit is working hard to keep our roads safe."

Anyone wishing to report a vehicle crime should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.