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Monday, 7 October, 2002, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Road tax cameras start work
stingray camera
The 'stingray' cameras are being deployed in Gwent
A crackdown on car tax cheats is underway across Wales with police using a network of cameras which can spot untaxed vehicles on the move.

Motorists in the Gwent Police area face being the first to have their details interrogated by the "Stingray" camera system which links up with the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency's (DVLA) database.

Road tax evasion in Wales
Dyfed-Powys 18m revenue lost with 17,000 unlicensed vehicles
South Wales 3.5m, 32,000 vehicles
Gwent Police 1.3m, 12000 vehicles
North Wales 22m, 20,000 vehicles

The cameras record the registration number of a passing vehicle and check the details with the DVLA to confirm if a valid car tax disc has been issued.

Monday's operation is backed up by teams of police and DVLA officials operating spot checks at sites across the country looking for motorists with no tax, MoT certificate or insurance, or with faults on their vehicle.

Gwent Police are leading the two-week crackdown.

There are an estimated 81,000 unlicensed vehicles in Wales, the majority of them in the more built-up areas in the south.

In the Gwent force area, the figure is 12,000, amounting to 1.3m in lost revenues - part of an estimated 8.8m lost last year to road tax-dodgers.

Crushing claw in operation
Confiscated vehicles can be crushed

The 'Stingray' cameras are visible to passing motorists and can read the number plates of vehicles travelling at up to 100 miles per hour.

They were first introduced in England a year ago and are also operated in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The DVLA is running the scheme in conjunction with all four Welsh police forces.

The cameras will operate from laybys and over bridges, reading the number plates of passing vehicles.

Offenders will face fines of up to 1,000 for a car or motorbike, and up to 23,000 for a heavy goods vehicle.

Crushed

Wheelclamping of cars without tax discs has been in force across the UK since 1997.

So far, 99,000 vehicles having been targeted and 51,000 of them have been disposed of by crushing.

New regulations will also come into force for wheel-clamped vehicles which reduces the time clamped vehicles are kept in storage from 35 to 14 days.

After that time, unclaimed vehicles will be crushed.


More from south east Wales

More from south west Wales
See also:

24 Sep 02 | Wales
16 Jan 02 | N Ireland
28 Jul 00 | UK
20 Jul 00 | Politics
20 Jul 00 | Politics
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