​M5 crackdown sees 290 drivers nabbed for various offences

M5 Accident
Ben Birchall/PA WIRE

Traffic police come across all sorts of odd things in their day job, but a two-day sting on the M5 – the first police operation across the whole length of the motorway – came across everything from drivers refusing to wear their seat belts to a van driver carrying a ball-bearing gun.
Over the two days of the operation, which took place on Thursday and Friday last week, nearly 300 drivers were caught committing offences. Topping the list with 70 offenders caught, was speeding, while 54 drivers were fined for using their phone behind the wheel.

Next in line police stopped 35 drivers who were not wearing seat belts. Branded "Operation Unity" this sting saw collaboration between staff from seven police forces located along the M5, from Exeter in Devon all the way up to West Bromwich near Birmingham. A further 11 drivers were arrested under suspicion of committing a number of other crimes.

During this operation, police also investigated a man driving a Mercedes van, who was spotted with a handgun in Devon. The van was later stopped close to Bristol where police recovered a ball-bearing gun, though no arrests were made, reports the Daily Mail.

Head of the Central Motorway Police Group Superintendent Paul Keasey told the Mail: "Recent intelligence indicates the M5 is a vital route for many different members of the criminal community, allowing them to traffic people, convey drugs, transport stolen goods and deliver vehicles following car-key burglaries.

"We hope this operation sends a clear message to them that we will act on the information we receive from the public and we will take whatever action is necessary to disrupt their activities.

"We also hope it raises the awareness of the 'fatal five' offences - namely dangerous and careless driving, mobile phones, speeding, seat belts, drink and drug-driving - and makes drivers think more carefully about their actions."
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