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Dodgy cars' public exit; CRACKDOWN: Police bring in the mobile crusher.

Byline: Mark Cowan

POLICE delivered a crushing blow to criminals blighting Birmingham - by pulverising illegal cars in front of the public.

Cars that had been impounded by police for being driven without insurance or tax were wheeled out to Alum Rock to be crushed.

The move was part of an ongoing operation, codenamed Intrusive, to put the squeeze on crime and anti-social behaviour in Alum Rock and Washwood Heath.

Police hope the high-visibility display will set the tone for their crackdown, set up in response to comments from residents, and show what is being done to stop criminals.

The first vehicle to be 'cubed' was a P-registered Rover.

Insp Craig Underwood, head of Operation Intrusive, said: "The mobile vehicle crusher is just one example of how we are fighting crime in the Alum Rock area.

"We are tackling offences right at the top level down to dropping litter in the street and everything in between.

"Every single operation and activity has been designed to address the issues reported to us by the community. They have shaped the operation.

"It shows the community have the power to influence local policing - they tell us what they want and we are delivering it." The operation also saw a surge in police activity in the area yesterday, including increased foot patrols, as well as metal detectors and drug-search dogs checking people using public transport.

Almost 50 people have been arrested as part of the operation, for suspected offences including drugs, robbery, burglary, theft and drink-driving, and 45 vehicles seized for possessing no insurance and being involved in criminal activity.

Almost 400 on-the-spot fines have been issued for motoring offences and 17 for littering.

Five off-licences have been fined for selling alcohol to underage people and more than 13,000 cans of beer and 2,000 bottles of unlicensed spirits seized from rogue traders.

Council workmen were out on the streets removing litter and graffiti that the community feels is blighting their area.

Community operations manager Maz Dad said: "It is almost like these are signals to people that the area is getting worse.

Our job is to ensure the streets are clean and tidy and stay that way."


Crushing blow: Operation Intrusive crushed seized cars in public. Inspector Craig Underwood stands next to the cubed car. Enlightening: Officers watch blacked-out car windows being removed.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 12, 2009
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