In South Wales, Gwent police have started up a large scale operation to tackle rogue traders in vans. The move is part of a nationwide operation to crack down on illegal traders. The operation in Wales meant pulling over suspect vans and taking them to a nearby car park and checking vehicle and driver details and credentials such as trading licenses, goods being carried, tax and so on.
Van drivers were not just tackled for illegal trading. 49 vehicles were stopped for speeding, possession of illegal drugs, inadequate tyres, using a mobile phone whilst driving as well as other offences such as displaying illegal number plates. Five drivers have had to produce their papers at a Police Station within the week and several vehicles were seized for not having van insurance.
The operation worked like this. Four policemen patrolled the roads fishing for potential suspects. A further six policemen managed the searching operation, verifying all details. Trading standards and the police are now sharing intelligence so as to further stop the crime circles prevalent in the area. The A48 is believed to be a route commonly used by criminals so it came as no surprise when the haul was fruitful. It is expected that such operations will be rolled out throughout the country soon enough.
The news of such operations will no doubt cause some concern to those drivers who have not got their credentials fully up to scratch or members of the criminal underworld. Innocent drivers may also be concerned however, as many van drivers are self-employed, have deadlines to meet and places to go so the last thing that they need is to be stopped by police and delayed for long periods of time. Be legal, make sure it is MOT worthy and has van insurance which registered on the DVLA database. Make sure it is taxed, and a helpful tip to avoid being stopped would probably be to keep your van clean and looking professional. Consider if you have an unmarked van, investing in a neat vinyl logo.