'We have targeted criminals using our roads' - police chief hails successful start of operation following 60 arrests
PUBLISHED: 11:20 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:41 11 July 2019
An operation designed to crackdown on criminals in Great Yarmouth has been hailed by a police chief after it made 60 arrests in its first month.
Police hope Operation Moonshot's high-tech 'Ring of Steel' will stop criminals getting into the town, and are already seeing results since it launched on May 28.
The Moonshot team which is lead by Sergeant Nicholas Tungatt has access to police cars fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which allow officers to spot vehicles of interest within seconds.
Chief Inspector of Great Yarmouth Police, Nathan Clark , said: "I am really pleased with how well the team has performed.
"We have targeted criminals using our roads which has helped to protect the community."
In its first month the Moonshot team have had 510 (ANPR) activations which has lead to them stopping 166 vehicles.
Officers have made 60 arrests and seized 38 vehicles.
The team have arrested criminals for a number of suspected offences including thefts from machines, possession of firearms and money laundering.
Operation Moonshot was first launched in west Norfolk three years ago.
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Since April 2016, police have made more than 700 arrests, seized hundreds of uninsured or unroadworthy vehicles and found large quantities of drugs and stolen property.
Norfolk's police and crime commissioner Lorne Green revealed in April he would make £190,000 available to set up the system in the east of the county.
He said the aim was to complete a "ring of steel" which could more easily detect people coming in and out of Norfolk with "malign intentions".
Moonshot was first launched as a trial on the A1101 between Downham Market and Wisbech.
It was so successful officers seconded to it were made a permanent team, while the technology was extended across west Norfolk.
Part of the operation's success was due to officers' time being "ring-fenced", it has been claimed, with those in the Moonshot team "unencumbered" by the routine calls other PCs have to attend.
Officers always operate as a double crew, and carry tasers due to the type of criminals they could be dealing with.
They are placed on the main routes into the county, or in areas where criminals have been known to strike.