Joint operation makes major inroads into overseas crime
As a result of Operation Trivium 2 – which took place in the week commencing 28 March - there were 2,689 vehicles stopped, 367 vehicles seized, 197 people arrested and 1,624 enforcement activities recorded.
The initiative involved all UK polices forces, as well as officers from Poland, Romania and Lithuania, HMRC, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the GLA.
It also included the recovery of contraband tobacco products to the value of around £200,000, the recovery of a stolen CAT excavator, worth more than £160,000, which had been fitted with false plates, and the disruption of a group who were travelling around fitting card-skimming devices onto ATMs.
National operations lead for the operation, Superintendent Paul Keasey, said: "The overwhelming majority of people who come to live in the UK are honest, law abiding individuals who keep within the law, but there will always be a minority who are intent on a life of crime or who have come to escape a criminal past.
"We want the UK to be a safe place for everyone who lives here, and that includes the increasing number of foreign nationals who choose to call it home. We can only improve trust and confidence by treating everyone equally.
"If someone comes into the UK and engages in criminal activity then through utilising existing police and our partners’ powers or legislation, maximising our intelligence/information and effectively deploying our resources we will provide a robust and proportionate response to tackling those who come into the UK with the intention of committing crime within our borders."
Added GLA Chief Executive Paul Broadbent: "Partnership working is fundamental and vital to our role of ensuring workers who are supplied into our regulated sector are not exploited.
"The GLA was very keen to get involved in sharing some of the intelligence we held to assist this operation and has acquired some useful information back resulting from stoppages of vehicles whose registration numbers we had supplied.
.“We will continue to explore all avenues available to us that assist the authority to tackle unlicensed and criminal activity.”
Notable arrests and incidents of note that occurred during Op Trivium 2:
• A man was stopped in his vehicle and over £200,000 worth of contraband tobacco and cigarettes recovered. Linked to organised crime – Police and HMRC dealing with the offender.
• An organised gang of Romanian men arrested for cash-point skimming offences. An extensive Stop / Search of the vehicle found all relevant equipment for the offence present, with the devices hidden in the door panels of the car. Through the use of the National Operations Command Centre , it was established that the driver of the vehicle had been banned from driving for three months in Romania.
• Foreign HGV checked at Motorway Service Area and found to contain a stolen CAT Excavator on false plates valued at £165000.
• Arrest of people arrested from a vehicle seen the previous day in suspicious circumstances. A member of the public had seen a man placing a "device" on a cash machine at a Tesco supermarket. They challenged the man who ran off and was seen getting into a vehicle. The vehicle was placed on Operation Trivium ANPR Hot List and was stopped following day, with three occupants arrested for related offences.
• A driver was arrested for Handling Stolen Goods and directly linked to a mobile Organised Crime Group.
• As a result of Operation Trivium, liaison between two Police Force areas and ANPR analysis resulted in a vehicle being identified as used by an Organised Crime Group. The vehicle was stopped and four Romanian Nationals arrested for Theft related offences in both force areas. Subsequent analysis identified 10 similar offences with the same M.O in the past few weeks across the UK. This group have been identified as part of an organised gang now based in North of England but with links to the Midlands and the South West.
• Two Bulgarian men arrested for bringing a stolen truck from Belgium into the UK.