POLICE in the Highlands say their focus on commercial vehicles will continue following a week long campaign - including checks at the Skye Bridge - which resulted in the detection of over 70 offences and the detention of a male wanted for bogus workman offences.

Between the 10th and 14th October 2016, road policing officers and partners in the Highlands took part in the national Truck and Bus campaign which is carried out simultaneously throughout the UK on prominent arterial routes and focuses on casualty reduction and denying criminals the use of the road.

During the week long campaign mobile and static checks were carried out by road policing officers on the A87 at the Skye Bridge, the A82/A830 at Fort William, and the A9 at Brora and Dalwhinnie.  A multi-agency day of action was also carried out in Inverness with partners that included the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Trading Standards and HMRC road fuel section.

Constable Martin Macrae, from the Trunk Road Patrol Group who took part in the checks said:  “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all genuine businesses, operators, drivers and employees that were stopped and spoken to during the checks. We appreciate the time it takes to carry out theses checks and I would like to assure people that the reason these operations take place is to detect and deter travelling criminals, bogus workers and rouge operators, which ensures a level playing field for all businesses and operators, whilst keeping our road networks safe.”

Over the course of the five days of checks a combination of 128 light commercial, large goods vehicles and buses were stopped which resulted in 51 tachograph and drivers hours offences, 7 insecure loads, 2 overweight offences, 1 drivers licence offence, 3 vehicle documentation offences, 2 carriage of dangerous goods offences and 11 other offences including tyre defects, seatbelts and speeding offences. 1 commercial vehicle was discovered using ‘red’ rebated diesel and 10 vehicles were removed from the road due to serious mechanical defects, 2 people were found in possession of drugs and 1 person was detained on an outstanding warrant for bogus workman offences.

Highland Trunk Road Patrol Group Inspector, Neil Lumsden said:“The results from last week highlights the importance of these checks. Communities in the Highlands continue to prioritise road safety as one of their main concerns. Our main priorities in road policing are to reduce road casualties and reduce road crime by denying criminals use of the road and this operation has certainly done that. Following three road deaths on Highland roads last year involving large goods vehicles I have increased our activity in this area to ensure commercial drivers are complying with driver’s hour’s regulations and vehicles are in a road worthy condition. These checks will continue to be part of our daily activity in the Highlands and I am grateful for the continued support of our partners and the communities we serve.”

Mark McGinty, Trading Standards Team Leader with Highland Council said: “Trading Standards welcome our involvement in this Operation, we have attended many similar operations working with Police Scotland, and they have proven to be a very worthwhile joined-up activity to combat community safety problems in the area.  Our focus is doorstep crime, which remains a national priority for Trading Standards services in Scotland, and Highland is no different in getting its fair share of unscrupulous individuals who enter Highland with a view to trading illegally and causing suffering to unsuspecting residents.  We are committed to working with our partners and using the combined powers available to tackle this type of crime.

“During the operation we also offer support to the many businesses we encounter, by providing business advice and making all aware of the problem of doorstep crime, we are fully aware that doorstep crime still remains vastly under reported and we urge residents, businesses, neighbours and their families and friends to report any suspicions they have immediately.