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Top of the ANPR Ops 2018

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Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology is one of the most valuable pieces of kit used by the police to prevent and detect crime and protect the vulnerable.

During 2018 it directly led to the arrest of 727 suspects across North Yorkshire and helped us safeguard 36 vulnerable people. And these are just the live-time incidents. It has assisted and contributed to countless other ongoing investigations or safeguarding matters.

We use it to catch criminals, as a strategic crime prevention tool, and to find vulnerable and missing people. It also provides evidence in criminal prosecutions. For example it formed part of the evidence in two recent major drugs conspiracies that have seen 14 drug dealers jailed for over 150 years.


Here’s our top 12 jobs of 2018 where ANPR was a key factor


ANPR alerted us to a vehicle in the south of the county that was in convoy with another car that had been reported stolen hours earlier from South Yorkshire. Officers were deployed to the location and found the vehicle which failed to stop for them. Following a high-speed pursuit during which the occupants threw various items from the vehicle, it eventually came to a stop in a field and the four occupants ran away. They were arrested a short time later and handed over to South Yorkshire Police.


Officers received a call from a member of staff from a partner agency after they called at the home of a man and found two suicide notes and his car missing. Thanks to ANPR, staff in our ANPR Hub were able to work out the vehicle’s movements from earlier that day and pass the information onto officers on the ground who were then able to locate the vehicle and the man. They then contacted health service colleagues and the man was taken into their care.


A vehicle was sighted heading towards the West Yorkshire border that had intelligence against it suggesting it was involved in transporting class A drugs between Leeds and York. Officers intercepted the vehicle on its return journey to York. A search of the car resulted in officers seizing drugs, cash, mobile phones and drugs paraphernalia. The three occupants were arrested and during a further search of a property linked to one of the suspects, more class A drugs and £4,000 cash was seized.



Police had information that suspects linked to so-called county lines drug dealing in the Scarborough and Filey area were using a taxi to carry out their “business”. A vehicle was sighted travelling between the two towns and was intercepted by officers. The two passengers were found with nearly 70 wraps of heroin and cocaine in their possession and were arrested. Officers then attend the home address of one of them and arrested a third person. All three were subsequently charged and jailed for over 15 years in total. Read more about the case here.


A vehicle believed to be used by a woman to collect drugs from Bradford and bring them back to North Yorkshire was monitored by the ANPR Hub after being seen travelling towards West Yorkshire. On its return journey, officers intercepted the car and found a quantity of white powder, believed to be cocaine, in the glove box. The two occupants of the vehicle were arrested and remain under investigation.


A vehicle was sighted travelling towards Skipton that was linked to suspicious activity at a property in the town linked to drug dealing. The vehicle was intercepted by officers who found 70 wraps of suspected class A drugs in the inside. The three occupants were arrested and remain under investigation.


A call was received from another police force in the south of England that a car linked to the kidnap of two children was travelling north and may pass through North Yorkshire to get there. Thanks to ANPR and air support from the National Police Air Service, the vehicle was located and stopped in North Yorkshire and three occupants arrested and handed over to the originating police force.


Police intercepted a vehicle on the A64 near Scarborough due to information that the driver kept a stun gun and CS gas in the vehicle. Officers stopped the car and recovered a taser-type weapon, a canister of CS gas, a knife and suspected drugs paraphernalia. The driver was arrested and remains under investigation for weapons offences.


Two men from Bradford were arrested after their van was stopped by officers on the A1. The vehicle was linked to the theft of quad bikes the previous day. Officers arrested the pair and during a subsequent search of a property linked to the suspects, four quad bikes – suspected as stolen – were recovered. The investigation has since widened to include a third suspect and a number of other motorcycles and tools have been recovered. The three men remain under investigation.


A man was arrested on suspicion of multiple rapes and controlling and coercive behaviour after a vehicle was flagged as containing a very vulnerable woman and had entered the North Yorkshire area. Officers stopped the vehicle, the man was arrested and the woman was taken to safety.


Two men – one from York and one from Liverpool were arrested on a return journey from Merseyside. Their vehicle was linked to drugs supply and burglary. After stopping the car on the A64 in North Yorkshire, officers found a large quantity of suspected class A drugs. Both men were arrested on suspicion of supplying class A drugs and in addition, the York man was also arrested on suspicion of burglary and fraud. Both were released but remain under investigation.


Police received a report from McArthurGlen designer outlet in York that four people had left the centre with numerous bags of suspected stolen goods. Officers intercepted their vehicle as it travelled out of York. The four, two men and two women from out of the area were arrested and a large quantity of suspected stolen clothing was recovered. The four have since been charged with seven counts of theft each and will appear in court later this month.

Last modified: January 16, 2019