Novelty vehicles checked

ENFORCEMENT?officers uncovered a catalogue of defects when they swooped on novelty vehicles which had, only minutes earlier, dropped off community college students at their proms night, at Exmouth Pavilion.

ENFORCEMENT?officers uncovered a catalogue of defects when they swooped on novelty vehicles which had, only minutes earlier, dropped off community college students at their proms night, at Exmouth Pavilion.

A total of 13 vehicles, including five stretch limousines, were pulled into East Devon District Council's Camperdown Depot to be checked by specialists.

EDDC?issued a statement this week, saying: "Some of the results are still being evaluated, including those involving the Department of Work and Pensions and the Council's Revenues and Benefits Fraud Team.

"However, as a result of the vehicle inspections, five drivers were issued with immediate prohibition notices for a range of vehicle defects, including a serious suspension fault.


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"One stretch limousine was seized and impounded by the police due to the seriousness of the offences revealed.

"Of the 13 vehicles checked, 12 were discovered to have been committing offences, including, in one case, the emergency exit of one large vehicle being locked and unusable.

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"The vehicles checked included a double-decker bus, a vintage bus, an army lorry and an old American Buick Roadster."

The statement also said:?"Council licensing officers were not satisfied that two of the stretch limousines were authorised for the carriage of passengers for hire and reward and are continuing enquiries in relation to the use of these vehicles."

The EDDC statement added: "Similar operations have been carried out in recent weeks in other parts of Devon.

"Care was taken to ensure the operation did not affect the youngsters attending the ball and those vehicles identified for further investigation were only pulled aside for inspection once they had dropped off their passengers and had moved away from Exmouth Pavilion."

The joint enforcement operation was carried out by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary's Road Policing Unit at Exeter, led by MPC Andy Woodward, together with EDDC's licensing service.

Also involved in the operation were officers from the Vehicle and Operators Services Agency (VOSA), the Department of Work and Pensions, EDDC's Revenues and Benefits Fraud Team and HM Revenue and Customs.

EDDC's licensing manager, John Tippin, said: "The results of this operation, although disappointing, were not unexpected.

"Enforcement authorities throughout the country have been concerned about the increasing popularity of these novelty vehicles and the results of this operation show the law needs to be tightened.

"Current legislation allows many operators to avoid the local authority licensing regime which, for example, allow stringent checks on the suitability of drivers, and opt instead for the less onerous national licensing regime."

The council said people were advised that, when booking any vehicle, and in particular unusual novelty-style vehicles, they should check carefully "the vehicle and driver are properly authorised and insured".

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