Nottinghamshire Police seize vehicles during crackdown on illegal drivers

More than 300 vehicles were stopped and seized in Nottinghamshire in December and January because the driver either had no insurance or the appropriate driving licence.

In January alone, officers found 119 people were behind the wheel of a vehicle with no insurance cover. A further 57 were found to have no licence to drive.

In December, a total of 62 unlicensed and 77 uninsured drivers were stopped and their vehicles seized.

Since 2004, the force has run Operation Rustproof to stop drivers who flout the legal requirement to obtain a driving licence and purchase the appropriate insurance cover.

Police officers have powers under Section 165 of the Road Traffic Act to seize a vehicle from anyone believed to be driving illegally.

The penalty for driving without insurance is a minimum of six penalty points, potential disqualification, and a fine of up to £5,000.

A minimum of three penalty points is ordinarily issued for driving without a licence. They, too, could potentially be disqualified and fined. If appropriate, a fixed penalty notice can be issued at the scene by a police officer.

If there is no other person with the vehicle who can legally drive it, it is seized and taken to a duty garage. The owner of the vehicle must produce valid documentation within 14 days before the vehicle is released.

They will then be charged for the return of the vehicle. Any vehicle not collected within 14 days will be disposed of.

Chief Inspector Andy Charlton said: “Anyone who believes they can just get behind the wheel and simply head out along Nottinghamshire’s roads without either being qualified to drive or appropriately insured needs to take note of these figures.

“Our officers have a wealth of information at their disposal that can tell them within seconds who does and does not have licence and, crucially, who isn’t insured to drive a particular vehicle.

“The process of obtaining a licence may be time-consuming and costly, and it may be increasingly expensive to insure a vehicle, but without having proved yourself competent to drive or taken steps to protect yourself and other road users from the bearing the costs of damage, you have no right to be on the road.

“The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will prosecute motorists who fail to renew their insurance whether they use their car on a road or not. Failing to renew insurance on a car can attract a fixed penalty charge on the keeper.

“It is disappointing that so many people still seem to think that either they can do whatever they like or that they won’t get caught.

“The figures we have released should dispel that idea. But those individuals also need to realise that, more importantly than any penalty points or fine, their recklessness is risking the safety of every road user, including themselves.”

If you know of someone who is driving without a licence or insurance, you can telephone Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.