DRIVERS ON the M5 last week will have been forgiven for thinking George Osborne had found some spare change under the Treasury’s bed, following an unusually high number of sightings of that rarest of things: the police patrol car.
Seven police forces, within whose beat the 162-mile long motorway lies, came together in a show of force spanning West Bromwich in the north and Exeter in the south.
The two-day intiative, called Operation Unity, resulted in 290 people being dealt with for various offences. They included 70 drivers being stopped for speeding and a further 54 being fined for using mobile phones at the wheel. Thirty-five motorists were pulled over for failing to wear seatbelts and 11 people were arrested on suspicion of committing a variety of other offences.
Superintendent Paul Keasey, head of Central Motorway Police Group, which led the operation, said: “Recent intelligence indicates the M5 is a vital route for many different members of the criminal community, allowing them to traffic people, convey drugs, transport stolen goods and deliver vehicles following car-key burglaries.
“We hope this operation sends a clear message to them that we will act on the information we receive from the public and we will take whatever action is necessary to disrupt their activities.
“We also hope it raises the awareness of the ‘fatal five’ offences ‒ namely, dangerous and careless driving, mobile phones, speeding, seatbelts, and drink and drug-driving ‒ and makes drivers think more carefully about their actions.”