POLICE have blitzed travelling criminals in Huddersfield.

Yesterday's special operation was set up in the town using dozens of extra officers who would normally have been on a training day.

The aim was to catch offenders travelling in and out of the town and seize untaxed and uninsured cars with no MOTs which are passed between villains as "pool cars".

Police stopped and recovered four of the cars in Huddersfield yesterday.

The high-technology traps use cameras that read number plates and are linked to the Police National Computer, which includes crime links such as whether a car was seen near a burglary.

They were set up at Bradford Road in Fartown and Lockwood Road in Lockwood.

One car - a stolen Nissan Sunny GTR with blacked-out windows - sped off from Bradford Road and was chased to Kirkheaton. The thieves escaped, but the car was recovered.

In separate arrests, one man was detained on suspicion of drink driving, another on suspicion of shoplifting and a third man wanted by police for deception was detained.

Insp Phil Ounsley, of Huddersfield police, said: "We wanted to get as many of these pool cars off the road as possible and are pleased to have found and seized four of them.

"This operation was aimed at targeting travelling criminals by catching those who drive around in untaxed, uninsured and untested cars.

"We used high technology equipment on the two main roads to target the vehicles.

"The Automatic Number Plate Recognition system is linked directly to the police national computer.

"It reads number plates and immediately flags up any vehicles that need to be stopped.

"This is known as a hit and ranges from cars with no tax to vehicles that have been linked with crime.

"They may have been spotted at the scene of a burglary, for instance."

He added: "The operation also gave us vital intelligence information.

"We stopped people known to us and discovered the kind of cars they are driving, who they are associating with and the areas they are operating in."

A similar action day at Lockwood Road recently led to 5,000 number plates being scanned which showed 75 "hits".

"The problem is we were getting so many hits that day we did not have sufficient officers to stop all the cars," said Insp Ounsley.

"These operations are not one-off events. More are planned for the Huddersfield area to disrupt the activities of travelling criminals."