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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Number plate scans net 140

Police using high-tech number plate scanners have arrested 140 people and seized drugs and stolen cars worth tens of thousands of pounds.

Officers have operated Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) vans across East and West Sussex over the past 13 weeks.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said the focus had been on catching 'real criminals', including street drug dealers and travelling burglars.

The system, which uses technology similar to the congestion charging scheme, scans number plates and matches them to a database.

Stolen or suspect vehicles are flagged up to police, who can then make targeted stops and inquiries.

Criminally active

Sergeant Steve Black, of the ANPR unit, said: "What we have achieved far exceeds what we hoped.

"As well as the 140 arrests, we have recovered 56,000 worth of stolen cars, 31,500 of drugs have been seized and we have gathered intelligence on serious criminals.

"In a nutshell, 85% of the ANPR team's work is on people who are criminally active or have criminal records and we've targeted street drug dealers on foot and cycle, drugs houses and travelling burglars."

Sgt Black said the scanners had helped catch people who were already wanted by the police as well as those driving while disqualified.

"Because we have been casting a large net it also brought all sorts of other things to the surface, involving people at all levels of criminality.

"Our ultimate aim is to drive criminals from the use of the roads."




SEE ALSO:
Hi-tech scans help net criminals
28 May 03  |  Southern Counties
Arrests after number plate scans
21 May 03  |  England
Charges follow crime crackdown
09 May 03  |  South West Wales
Hi-tech crime crackdown
08 May 03  |  South West Wales


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