CAR criminals have been dealt a blow since the launch of an operation aimed at tackling offenders.

The joint operation by the police and Bromley Council is part of an ongoing crackdown on car crimes.

Operation Kelvin targeted Croydon Road, Penge, for the first of a series of joint actions planned for the coming months.

The two-day purge saw 40 vehicles reported to the DVLA enforcement office, 12 destroyed and many enquiries made relating the illegal sale of cars on the highway.

It formed part of the vehicle crime reduction strategy which is trying to find long-term solutions to put a stop to vehicle offences.

Bromley police spokesman Chief Inspector Ragna Tulloch said: "We are hammering home the message car crime impacts on people's lives. Being without tax means the car owner is usually without insurance and MOT. These people are not safe to be on the road.

"Dumped cars take up parking spaces residents want to use. They attract vandalism and, if set fire to, could cause major emergency."

More than 500 cars are removed from Bromley's streets a month with the council receiving around 12,000 reports of abandoned vehicles a year. The problem has swept the country with about one million dumped and unlicensed vehicles on the roads.

Bromley Council's abandoned vehicles project manager Pat Ellander said: "This is the start of a longer-term campaign to look at how to best tackle nuisance vehicles but it is certainly not a quick fix. Untaxed vehicles trigger a rise in insurance for everyone, so honest drivers are paying the penalty.

"Abandoned vehicles also contribute to the feel of the area and we are looking at different ways of combating this problem."

September 6, 2001 17:13