ROSS-SHIRE motorists were put on notice this week that police will take a no-nonsense attitude to abandoned and untaxed vehicles on the road.
Officers from Police Scotland, working with a range of partner agencies, worked together to remove a number of such vehicles from the roads of the Highlands.
The move follows previous concerns flagged up in various Ross-shire communities over the issue.
Road policing officers backed the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Highland Council environmental health enforcement officers, Health and Safety Executive and Trading Standards standards representatives and HM Revenue and Customs during the recent swoop.
The first week of action saw in excess of 50 vehicles seized and 40 clamped.
This action has followed a number of complaints from local residents regarding apparently abandoned vehicles and vehicles which have clearly been used without excise.
Over the course of the week of action, further road traffic offences were detected, including vehicles being driven without insurance.
Highland Council and the DVLA say they’ll continue to carry out enforcement action across the region, supported by police.
Chief Inspector Iain MacLelland said: "I am delighted to have the support of partner agencies in this co-ordinated approach to abandoned vehicles in our community.
"Local residents have consistently raised concerns about anti-social behaviour linked to these vehicles and there is the obvious danger of vehicles being used which are not roadworthy. Seizing these vehicles will not only clean up local communities but also keep our roads safe."
Gregor MacCormick, Highland Council’s senior environmental health officer, said: "The environmental health team very much welcomed the operation this week.
"Abandoned cars cause significant concern within communities and the council spends a considerable amount of time and money in investigating and removing such vehicles. Our team will continue to work closely with the DVLA, Police Scotland and other partner agencies in tackling this serious problem."
Bethan Beasley, national wheel clamping manager for the DVLA, said: "Whilst over 98 per of vehicles on the road are taxed correctly, we are working closely with officers from Police Scotland to remind drivers that not taxing your vehicle is against the law. We don’t need to spot a vehicle on the road to take enforcement action but if we do, wheel clamping is an effective way to make sure that an untaxed vehicle is not driven on the road.
"It’s never been easier to tax your car, so there really is no excuse. We would rather not have to clamp or remove vehicles, but we do need people to understand the consequences of not doing so. Having your vehicle clamped is expensive and inconvenient. Don’t take the risk – it just isn’t worth it."
Constable David Miller, who led the operation, said it was generally positively received by the community.
He added: "A number of other road traffic offences had also been detected during the operation. The owners of all the vehicles which have been clamped or seized will receive fines in addition to the vehicle excise due directly from the DVLA. These will be sent to the individuals concerned on completion of the operation."
Reports can be made to https:/forms.dft.gov.uk/report-an-untaxed-vehicle/