Police seize £100,000 worth of smuggled alcohol in operation

Two lorries each carrying smuggled alcohol valued at around £100,000 were seized at Thurrock during a road safety operation led by Essex Police’s commercial vehicle unit.

The trucks were stopped as part of Operation Mermaid, the national campaign to rid the roads of unsafe or dangerously-driven commercial vehicles.

A van driver was also arrested and charged with drink driving after failing a breath test.

A total of 48 trucks and vans were intercepted on the M25 and A13 and taken to a check site at Moto services where police officers, Customs officials, Trading Standards officers and vehicle examiners from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, VOSA, carried out enquiries into the drivers, vehicles and loads.

Customs officers seized two lorries, each carrying more than 20 tons of tinned beer and three other HGVs loaded with alcohol were clamped for driver hours offences and were released only after the drivers had completed the legally required rest breaks.

Two vans loaded with alcohol were stopped for being overweight and one which was found to be 36 per cent over its load limit was prohibited from continuing its journey.

Three vehicles had no MOTs, three drivers were given fixed penalty notices for not wearing seat belts and four drivers were given FPNs for using mobile phones while driving. One vehicle was seized after the driver was found to have no insurance.

Fines totalling £3,460 were collected during the course of the operation.

The driver charged with drink driving was a 44-year-old man from Gravesend, Kent who failed a breath test at the commercial vehicle check site at 10am. He was bailed to appear at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on September 22.

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