POLICE are to swoop on car boot sales in a bid to track down stolen property and catch criminals.
The blitz is part of a six-week campaign, Steer Clear, which is targeting car crime.
Officers raided a car boot sale on Pontefract Road in Leeds at the weekend and also raided several homes in the city in a co-ordinated operation.
A large amount of suspected stolen and counterfeit property was found at the sale and the houses. A dozen people were arrested.
Assistant Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell said: "Car boot sales are being monitored by officers to clamp down on the sale of stolen stereos, vehicle parts and property.
"The aim is to prevent criminals profiting from car crime by duping innocent people into buying the proceeds.
"Car boot sales are known to be popular with criminals as a way to pass on stolen goods. People are less likely to question the origin of goods sold there and will make a purchase in good faith.
"Many of the people who visit a car boot sale are looking for a bargain. While most traders are selling second- hand goods quite legitimately, there are others happy to take advantage of trusting buyers.
"I would urge people to be wary. If you're tempted by the price of something that is usually expensive, consider that it may be stolen.
"If it is, you have no legal right of ownership and your purchase could be confiscated."
As part of the operation, police will be using the Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to check cars at car boot sales.
The computer links directly to the Police National Computer and shows up any vehicles reported stolen or believed to have been involved in crime.
Officers will also be on hand to offer crime prevention advice to the public.