Crack down: Traffic police find suspected smuggled wine

A lorry loaded with wine worth more than £100,000 was seized on suspicion of smuggling during a road safety operation by Essex Police.

The lorry was stopped during the campaign in Thurrock and Basildon.

HM Customs and Excise said they suspected the owner had been trying to evade paying £25,000 in import duty.

Police discovered the lorry during an operation to stop suspicious lorries and vans on the M25 and A13 on Saturday.

Vehicles were taken to Moto services in Thurrock where drivers, vehicles and loads were checked by officers from Essex and Bedfordshire.

A total of 91 vehicles were stopped and checked in the one-day operation and five were seized after the drivers were found to have no insurance.

Fines collected

One person was arrested for driving while disqualified and another was arrested for making off without paying for fuel.

An unlicensed minibus was taken off the road and its passengers, who had been on their way to a wedding, had to make other arrangements to get to the ceremony on time.

A total of 175 offences concerning drivers' hours were found and one driver had his vehicle clamped while he took a rest break.

Eleven other offences were dealt with and a total of £4,240 was collected in fines and deposits.

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