Smuggled wine seized by Thurrock cops

A LORRY loaded with more than £100,000 of wine was seized on suspicion of smuggling during a road safety operation by Essex Police’s commercial vehicle unit on Saturday.

The lorry was intercepted by police motorcyclists involved in Operation Midsummer to crack down on crime and reduce casualties on roads in Thurrock and Basildon.

During the operation suspicious lorries and vans found on the M25 or A13 were taken to Moto services, Thurrock where drivers, vehicles and loads were checked by officers from the commercial vehicle unit, casualty reduction unit and Specials from Essex and Bedfordshire.

The lorry stopped for alcohol smuggling was confiscated by HM Customs and is suspected of attempting to evade about £25,000 in import duty.

A total of 91 vehicles were stopped and checked and five were seized after the drivers were found to have no insurance. One person was arrested for driving while disqualified and another was arrested for making off without paying for fuel.

An unlicensed minibus was taken off the road and passengers who had been on their way to a wedding made other arrangements to get to the ceremony on time.

A total of 175 driver hours offences were detected and one driver has his vehicle clamped while he took a suitable rest break.

Eleven other offences were dealt with and a total of £4,240 was collected in fines and deposits.

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