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Police lorry unit hailed as ’impressive’ for work on Halton roads

A LAW enforcement boss has praised the work of a unit that monitors lorries.

Cheshire Police Authority chairwoman Margaret Ollerenshaw was speaking after a visit to the force’s two-man commercial vehicle unit (CVU).

PCs Adam Morall and Dave Clegg pull in lorries and check how many hours drivers have travelled since taking a break.

They also measure the vehicles’ weight.

Mrs Ollerenshaw said: “This team may be small but it punches well above its weight in taking lorries which are potentially dangerous off the roads, and dealing with drivers who may also present a danger. The work they do is really impressive.”

Inspector Liz Cunningham, of Cheshire police motorway unit, said: “No-one travelling on a motorway can feel safe if the man driving the 44-ton lorry alongside is suffering from fatigue after driving far more hours than he is allowed to.

“Driver hours and lorries in a dangerous condition are the unit’s primary focus.

“They are issues which are vital to the safety of everyone who uses motorways.”

CVU officer Adam Morrall said: “We have an eye for identifying vehicles which are not complying with safety regulations – 76% of the vehicles we pull in have a serious defect in one form or another.”

Since the unit was set up in June 2009, it has handed out nearly 1,400 fines, issued prohibition notices on 848 vehicles and seized or immobilised 111 vehicles.

A police spokeswoman said that only one lorry driver has denied the offences he was accused of, but at a court hearing he was found guilty.

Recently the two VCU officers decided on another initiative with safety in mind.

PC Dave Clegg said: “One problem of enforcing driving regulations in the case of lorries is that an officer in a patrol car is too low down to see directly into a lorry cab. We hired a lorry tractor unit to level up the odds.”

He added: “Some lorry drivers seem to feel they are in a safer situation than other people.

“It’s probably because they are sitting high up in a big vehicle.

“In fact their only protection is a big sheet of glass. They are particularly vulnerable in the event of a collision. They need to wear their seatbelts.”

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