A POLICE operation to crack down on criminals operating in Marlow saw 35 vehicles stopped by police during a day-long operation last week.

Operation Lockdown, a joint enforcement exercise between Marlow and Maidenhead Police, used number plate recognition cameras to catch cars known to be linked with criminal activity.

With checkpoints near Marlow Bridge and Ferry Lane in Cookham, officers were able to check all traffic coming into the area and were automatically alerted to anything suspect.

And as well as potential criminals, drivers were stopped for a range of suspected offences, including a driver using a mobile phone, two cars without tax and one motorist for erratic driving.

Sergeant Robin Hughes of Marlow police, said: “We have had a small increase in burglaries and therefore we wanted to make sure we checked the main roads for anyone using them who may have criminal intent.

"Also the collateral effect was not only were we looking for people involved in crime we were checking for those who do not bother to insurance their cars or tax them.

"When I started doing this about ten years ago maybe every third car did not have them but it is quite rare now due to technology and us running this type of operation.”

Operation lockdown also saw enforcement on the problem of overweight vehicles on Marlow Bridge, with three vehicles turned round for tipping the scales at over three tonnes.

Maidenhead police were checking vehicles heading the other way into Berkshire, but the figures have not been released to the BFP.

No arrests were made during the operation, but a car was seized after it emerged the driver did not have a licence.

And one vehicle was stopped and searched for potential involvement with crime, but no further action was taken.

The ANPR cameras automatically notify officers if a vehicle has been involved in a crime, or ‘tagged’ with a crime marker after being seen in suspicious circumstances.

But Sgt Hughes said law-abiding motorists need not worry about getting hauled off to a cell for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He said: “They should not be worried about that. If a car has been tagged, they may be stopped but as long as they have a reasonable explanation they will be allowed to go on their way.”

Sgt Hughes said there are plans to run further enforcements operations will be carried out throughout the area.