MORE than a dozen vehicles have been taken off the roads and four men arrested as part of an operation to tackle metal theft.
The effort was launched by Northumbria and Durham police forces to target the theft of scrap metal across Wearside and the north of County Durham, backing up campaigns that are already running.
One man was arrested on suspicion of the theft of scrap metal from the Seaham area.
Other results in the county include one driver being questioned over his lack of a waste carrier licence, three cars seized for running on red diesel by HM Revenue and Customs, one car seized for having no insurance and five vehicles being taken off the roads for dangerous faults.
A further 11 motorists were dealt with for minor motoring offences with a police check site set up off the A690 at West Rainton.
Four scrapyards in Durham were also visited by police and Environment Agency staff, with a further five sites checked on Wearside.
Three men were arrested in Sunderland as part of the action, with three warrants executed and three people questioned over benefit offences.
Nine of the 70 vehicles Northumbria Police officers stopped were seized for road insurance-related offences.
Cars from both forces patrolled in a 10-mile radius from the check site searching for known criminal vehicles.
Pc Andy Sutherland, of Durham Constabulary, said: “Those involved in criminal activity should be aware ourselves and Northumbria Police share intelligence and regularly work together.
“Our operations to combat scrap metal theft will continue and there will be further days of action.”