FIVE people were arrested and 17 uninsured vehicles were seized during an operation in Thurrock to improve road safety and to detect and deter criminals.
Operation Talon which brought together specialist units and local officers was carried out over 15 hours on Thursday December 19.
Officers used automatic number plate technology (ANPR) to identify suspicious drivers or vehicles using main roads in the area.
Vehicles were checked by ANPR over a wide area of Thurrock and those intercepted by officers were taken to various sites around the borough where drivers and their vehicles were subjected to further investigation.
Two people were arrested on suspicion of burglary and assault, a man was arrested on suspicion of theft, a man wanted by another force was arrested on suspicion of theft and a man from Newcastle was arrested and later charged with assault, theft and drug possession.
The Essex Police Casualty Reduction Unit and Commercial Vehicle Unit also carried out checks on HGVs and other commercial vehicles using the M25, A13 and other main roads.
Fifty vehicles were escorted to the weighbridge site in Stonehouse Lane where drivers’ hours records and vehicle loads were checked.
A lorry carrying £150,000 of beer was stopped for investigation by Customs and Excise officers and £30,000 of unpaid import duty will be recovered.
Officers also fined three drivers after their vehicles were found to be overweight and fined four drivers for working over their hours limits.
They included one driver who had worked for 95.5 hours in the past ten days when the limit is 90 hours in a fortnight. He was fined a total of £700 and his lorry was prohibited from the roads until midnight on Sunday to ensure he gets the required rest time.
Pc Gary Winfield of the Commercial Vehicle Unit said: “Breaking the regulations on driver hours is an extremely dangerous practice as long hours mean tired drivers and tired drivers have killed or seriously injured other road users.
“Some of the most tragic fatal road collisions have been as a direct result of commercial vehicle drivers being tired from driving in excess of their permitted hours.”