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Crackdown on crime as police launch new operation in Sussex

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Improving road safety is one of the biggest issues that residents raise with me and I would agree with them that, too often, motoring offences go unchallenged and undetected.”

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A multi-agency operation to crackdown on criminals using Sussex roads is taking place this week.

Modern technology – Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) – will be used by police and partners with three main objectives:

  1. To target vehicles being driven illegally (no tax, insurance, etc);
  2. To target and deny criminals the use of the roads (for transporting weapons, drugs, etc);
  3. To prevent crimes from being committed in the first place.

The operation is being run by Sussex Police in conjunction with the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner and the DVLA, with support from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

Officers from the Roads Policing Unit, Prevention Teams, Dog Unit and Tactical Firearms Unit will be on patrol during five days of action, which started yesterday (Monday 11 June) and concludes on Friday (15 June).

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:

“I made a commitment to the residents of Sussex that they will see the difference their contributions to local policing makes. Local people tell me that they want to see more visible policing so they feel safer in Sussex, and Sussex Police also need to make best use of technology to do this effectively.

“Improving road safety is one of the biggest issues that residents raise with me and I would agree with them that, too often, motoring offences go unchallenged and undetected.

“I share the frustrations of residents so I want the police to stop criminals having free use of our road networks.

“This multi-agency operation will crackdown on those who openly break the law and will use technology to shine a light on others who are using our roads to covertly commit criminal offences.

“Visible policing matters. Let’s start by making our roads safer.”

Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry said:

“While we recognise the vast majority of motorists are not criminals, most criminals are motorists who utilise the road networks to carry out their crimes. Our aim is to target and deny these criminals, and to prevent crimes from being committed in the first place.

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“Policing the roads is not just down to our Roads Policing Unit. We have created multi-functional, multi-skilled and interoperable teams – also consisting of firearms and dog unit officers – to increase resilience. This means, for instance, a firearms unit could be called to deal with a road traffic collision.

“The recent council tax increase enables us to focus on proactive policing operations such as this, and working with our partners, we aim to keep people safe on our roads and deal robustly with offenders.”

Elaine Rees, national wheel-clamping manager at the DVLA, said:

“We operate a range of measures to make vehicle tax easy to pay and hard to avoid, including online vehicle taxing and Direct Debit. We also continue to send reminder letters to vehicle keepers, which is why it is so important they notify DVLA of a change of address or keeper.

“It is right that we take action against those who don’t tax their vehicles and then drive them otherwise it wouldn’t be fair to those who do the right thing. We are pleased to work with Sussex Police to make sure these untaxed vehicles are not driven on the road.”

The five-day operation will also be run in parts of Surrey, and will involve checks and patrols at various locations across the two counties.

Officers will have the power to seize vehicles and arrest suspected offenders.

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Crime

Man jailed for making hoax bomb call in order to catch his flight at Gatwick

A man who made a hoax bomb call in an attempt to catch his flight to the USA has been jailed.

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Jacob Meir Abdellak was running late for the Norwegian flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles, so he decided to contact the police to report the threat.

The anonymous call was received at 5.47am on Friday 11 May – just eight minutes before the flight was due to depart – and a full re-screening meant take-off was delayed by 90 minutes.

Further enquiries made by Gatwick Airport Ltd revealed Abdellak was significantly late for the flight and he was denied boarding by airline staff, whom he became abusive towards. He was told to return on another date to rearrange his flight.

It was later confirmed the telephone number used to make the call was the same number linked to his booking.

The 47-year-old librarian, of Amhurst Park, Hackney, London, was arrested at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday 22 May as he attempted to board another flight to the USA.

He was charged with communicating false information regarding a noxious substance likely to create serious risk to human health, however he denied the offence throughout.

Abdellak, a French national, admitted the telephone number was his, but claimed he had lost the SIM card a few days earlier and therefore the call could not have been made by him.

But at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday (14 August), when the trial was due to begin, the defendant changed his mind and pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment and required to pay a £140 victim surcharge.

Gatwick Police Chief Inspector Marc Clothier said:

“This was a quite ridiculous decision made by Abdellak, who fabricated an extremely serious allegation purely for his own benefit. He was running late for his flight and thought it would be a good idea to call in a hoax bomb, however this turned out to be the worst decision he could have made.

“His actions caused the flight to be delayed, and also caused a level of fear and distress among a number of staff and passengers on board that flight.

“The consequences of making allegations about bombs, guns or similar at densely populated locations such as airports are well documented, and Abdellak’s sentence serves as a warning to others that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and offenders will be dealt with robustly.”

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