WHEELCLAMPERS and camera operators were in action today in the next step of a crackdown on West Yorkshire's road tax cheats.
The No Exceptions, No Excuses and No Escape campaign against untaxed vehicles in Yorkshire was launched by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on March 2.
The first step involved a TV advert about new car tax rules which were introduced in January. It featured a hotline number, 08000 325202, which people could call to report untaxed vehicles.
Yorkshire has 142,000 untaxed vehicles and West Yorkshire has 56,000 - which totals £6.3m in lost revenue for the DVLA.
Today, the DVLA brought in the clampers and Stingray camera teams.
The camera teams are mounting roadside patrols. When a car passes the camera, it instantly reads the number plate and checks a database to see whether the car is taxed.
Stationary vehicles are being targeted by the clampers. The registered vehicle keeper will have to pay £200 to release the vehicle within 24 hours. After that, the vehicle will be impounded and the release fee will rise to £280. For every day the vehicle is unclaimed, £15 will be charged for storage.
If a vehicle is still unclaimed after 14 days, it will be crushed.
Road safety minister David Jamieson said untaxed vehicles were often uninsured and had no MOT to ensure they were roadworthy.
The new tactics had led to 200,000 more cars being taxed since January.
He said: "This shows that the law change is making a real difference and improving the safety of our roads.
"This law ensures not only are those cars taxed but they are roadworthy too."
The new laws mean for the first time the registered keeper of a vehicle is legally responsible for taxing it. Before that, motorists had to be spotted on the road driving without a valid tax disc to be subject to a penalty.
But now registered keepers of vehicles without road tax are identified on the DVLA's new computer database and an automatic fine of £80 is issued.