Tag Archives: automatic number plate recognition

Serial offender jailed after two-day crime spree including high-speed chase and attempt to steal chainsaw

A serial offender’s two-day crime spree, which saw him try to burgle two homes, lead police on a reckless high-speed chase and attempt to steal a chainsaw, has cost him four years in jail.

David Stuart Lawrence narrowly avoided hitting a pensioner while being pursued by traffic officers in the Marton Road area of Middlesbrough.

Then just two days later, the “professional burglar” was caught trying to steal a chainsaw from a hardware store before going on to target two homes in Marton.

Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court his offending started at about 11.40am on February 6 this year.

“The defendant had been seen driving a Renault Megane along Valley Road by traffic officers,” she said.

“The ANPR cameras indicated the Megane did not have insurance.”

A chase ensued which saw Lawrence driving 50mph in a 30mph zone – at times on the wrong side of the road – failing to stop for a red light and driving the wrong way down a one-way system.

He was finally apprehended by officers when his car became stuck in the mud as he tried to cross a grass verge.

He admitted driving without insurance, tax and driving while banned but told officers his driving was “not dangerous”.

It was while on bail for these offences that the 38-year-old then tried to steal a chainsaw from BQ on Skippers Lane.

He fled empty-handed after being confronted by staff, before moving on to Sunstar Grove in Marton.

After failing to burgle his first target, he then went on to steal almost £3,000 worth of goods from another.

Ms Jacobs told the court a neighbour had spotted Lawrence “acting suspiciously” and called police.

But when officers tried to stop the motorcyclist by parking a car across the road, Lawrence managed to flee again.

His offending was finally brought to an abrupt halt when he crashed the bike Marton Road, outside James Cook University Hospital, and suffered a broken arm.

Lawrence, of Marton Road, Middlesbrough, admitted two counts of dangerous driving, driving without a licence and driving without insurance. He also pleaded guilty to the charges of theft, burglary and attempted burglary.

His record includes 22 previous convictions for driving while disqualified, two previous offences of dangerous driving and 15 previous burglary offences.

Ms Jacobs said “he appears to be a professional burglar of late.”

Graham Silvester, defending, said after his arrest on February 6, Lawrence “fell back into drug use, which explains his offending on February 8”.

“He had had dark moments while in care in his younger years. He now just wants to get his sentence over and done with,” he added.

The judge Recorder Jonathan Adkin sentenced Lawrence to four years in prison and banned him from driving for 18 months.

Article source: http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/serial-offender-jailed-after-two-day-8827829

Parking firms face test case after driver launches landmark legal challenge over claims £85 fine for exceeding two …

  • If he wins, what critics see as a nauseating cash bonanza will end 
  • New systems must then be introduced to manage parking on private land
  • The Daily Mail exposed the antics of ‘parking cowboys’ last year 

Stephen Wright

Andrew Levy for the Daily Mail



The legality of parking tickets issued by enforcement firms is being challenged in a landmark case at the Appeal Court.

In a stand against what he calls ‘bullying’ tactics, Barry Beavis, who owns a fish and chip shop in Billericay, Essex, will say today that an £85 fine for exceeding his two-hour free stay by 56 minutes was disproportionate and should not be enforced.

If he wins, what critics see as a nauseating bonanza will end and new systems will be put in place to manage parking on private land. His action comes after the Daily Mail exposed the antics of ‘parking cowboys’ last year. 

McDonalds in Uxbridge is one of many McDonalds identified by the Mail last summer as installing signs and cameras in  car parks warning customers they can stay a maximum of 90mins or face a £100 fine

McDonalds in Uxbridge is one of many McDonalds identified by the Mail last summer as installing signs and cameras in car parks warning customers they can stay a maximum of 90mins or face a £100 fine

In a hard-hitting campaign, we revealed how the rogue firms are making tens of millions of pounds from fines handed out to motorists who overstay – sometimes for only a few minutes – in car parks at hospitals, railway stations, shopping centres and fast food outlets like McDonald’s.

Cancer sufferers and patients whose treatment has over-run are among those who have been ripped off by the parking squads who issue official-looking £100 tickets.

Mr Beavis, who owns The Happy Haddock fish and chips takeaway in Billericay, Essex, says he’s making his stand against a firm called ParkingEye Ltd on behalf of every motorist in the country.

He has dedicated hundreds of hours and made three court appearances in an attempt to change the law that allows ‘bullying’ parking operators to ‘extort’ money from people.

He said: ‘I’m not an activist, I’m not an armchair lawyer. I was just someone who got a ticket.

‘But as I researched my case I became incredibly angry with the way parking companies operate and bully people because they exploit human weakness – doing what we’re told.

‘There’s lots of strongly worded language saying you must pay, with ANPR photos. It’s all deliberately made to look like parking tickets but they are just speculative invoices.

‘I thought what it would be like if it happened to my mother-in-law – she would have been afraid and frightened and would have paid immediately.’

Mr Beavis received a demand for £85 – discountable to £50 if paid within 14 days – after parking at Riverside Retail Park in Chelmsford on April 15, 2013.

The site offers two free hours of parking and he returned 56 minutes late.

He ignored the first three demands from ParkingEye Ltd after researching his rights on the internet but had no option but to fight his case when he received a court summons.

A close-up of the sign: We revealed how the rogue firms are making tens of millions of pounds from fines handed out to motorists who overstay

A close-up of the sign: We revealed how the rogue firms are making tens of millions of pounds from fines handed out to motorists who overstay

Mr Beavis’s case centres on the argument that the ticket was unfair because it was a disproportionate sum for an hour’s parking.

A judge found against him at Cambridge County Court last year, where he was not legally represented. The ruling stated operators like ParkingEye Ltd are entitled to impose charges higher than their outgoings – and more expensive than typical parking charges in the area – to act as a deterrent.

Now A barrister, Sa’ad Hossain QC, has offered to represent Mr Beavis pro bono at the Court of Appeal hearing in London next week .

The 47-year-old added: ‘I’m hoping that parking companies will no longer be allowed to act in the current way.

‘I agree there is a need for parking management. In the place where I overstayed it’s close to the train station and if there was no management system it would be clogged up with commuters. So something is needed but this is not it.’

His wife, Wendy, added the free parking system at Riverside Retail Park was unfair because drivers sometimes spent up to half an hour waiting for a space after driving in.

She added: ‘Barry has put in a hell of a lot of time but he should still pursue it. It’s not just about him – it’s about other people that panic when they get one of those letters.

‘I’m proud of him for standing up to those bullies.’

Mr Beavis’s case has been strengthened by new research by the RAC Foundation which suggests hundreds of thousands of drivers are likely to have been illegally penalised for overstaying their welcome whilst parking on private land – and could be entitled to repayments totalling many tens of millions of pounds.

It says that parking companies are levying huge charges on drivers ‘out of all proportion’ to the losses suffered by landowners as a result of motorists’ actions.

Although the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 banned clamping on private land, drivers who stay longer than the time they have paid for are still likely to receive tickets that demand payments of up to £100, and in some cases significantly more.

In his paper for the RAC Foundation barrister John de Waal QC argues that this is likely to be several times more than compensation for a genuine loss. Mr de Waal, who will NOT be a witness at Mr Beavis’s case, says: ‘Payments at the level that operators presently demand as sanctions are unlikely to count as genuine pre-estimate of loss; they should be seen by the Courts as penalties, which means they are unenforceable.’

If the courts agree with Mr de Waal that many of the tickets issued are ‘extravagant and unconscionable’, drivers are potentially in line to receive tens, if not hundreds, of millions of pounds in refunds.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘We would like to see this legal argument tested in a higher court so that a binding precedent is set. At the same time we would like the government to do what it should have done at the outset and set out what are reasonable charges.’

A ParkingEye spokesperson said: ‘ParkingEye cannot comment on the outcome of a yet unheard case but remains confident in its position.’ 

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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2964475/Parking-firms-face-test-case-driver-launches-landmark-legal-challenge-claims-85-fine-exceeding-two-hour-stay-disproportionate.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Three arrested in blitz on travelling criminals

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THREE people were arrested as part of a crackdown on travelling criminals in Selby.

Dozens of officers in marked and unmarked police vehicles took part in a day of action on Friday under Operation Hawk, using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology. Officers stopped and checked 65 vehicles, and also issued a number of fixed penalty notices.

Two men were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class B drugs at 6pm, when officers stopped and searched a vehicle in Campsall and found nine bags of cannabis in the boot.

Another man – aged 49, from York – was arrested on the A64 near Bishopthorpe at about 11pm on suspicion of drink-driving. He has been released on bail pending the results of a blood test.

Another motorist was reported for summons for driving while disqualified near Knottingley, and a BMW found to be running on red diesel was seized near Goole.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “We will actively hunt down suspects to their homes, even in other force areas if necessary. There will be no let-up and nowhere to hide.

“People living in rural communities near Selby and across North Yorkshire can be reassured that these proactive operations will continue.

“More arrests will be made, until travelling criminals get the message that they are not welcome in North Yorkshire.”

Article source: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11844782.Three_arrested_in_blitz_on_travelling_criminals/?ref=rss

Illegal parking fines given in town hall car parks using automatic number plate recognition

  • Thousands of drivers have been illegally handed fines of up to £100 
  • Many town hall car parks are operating outside the law, ministers say 
  • This is because they installed automatic number plate recognition
  • System has not been approved and it cannot be used in town halls
  • The AA condemned the ‘rip-off fines’ as ‘dodgy’ and ‘outrageous’ 
  • Drivers are being encouraged to challenge fines and bring cases to court

Steve Doughty

Tom Payne For The Daily Mail



Tens of thousands of drivers have been illegally handed fines of up to £100 after stays in council car parks across the country

Tens of thousands of drivers have been illegally handed fines of up to £100 after stays in council car parks across the country

Tens of thousands of drivers have been illegally handed fines of up to £100 after stays in council car parks, it was revealed yesterday.

Many of the town halls that have installed automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems in their car parks are operating outside the law, according to the Government.

Ministers have now blown the whistle on the system and drivers who have been fined may be eligible for refunds. Local authorities began introducing ANPR systems in 2010, believing that it would be cheaper and more efficient. 

The cameras read licence numbers of cars as they drive in and out.

But the system has not been approved by the Government and cannot be used under the regulations which apply to town halls.

Some councils tried to get round the legal problem by contracting private operators to run the systems and collect fees.

However, roads minister Robert Goodwill has now written to council parking managers warning them ANPR car parks are not lawful and that whatever councils say about who runs their car parks, they cannot avoid legal responsibility.

Motoring organisations condemned councils for the ‘rip-off’ fines and accused them of fleecing customers.

They also called for drivers who have been fined to come forward to bring a test case to the courts. 

Local authorities take a high share of the money that drivers pour into off-street car parks, taking some £635million in the financial year that ended last March.

Paul Watters, of the AA, said the ANPR system is ‘dodgy’ and ‘outrageous’, adding: ‘This is a rip-off situation and a £100 fine in a council car park is ridiculous.

‘ANPR is the lazy man’s way of enforcing parking rules. There are a lot of errors. They should have staff working in their car parks.’

Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers said: ‘People will want to get back the money they have wrongly paid to councils, which have been fleecing motorists left, right and centre in every way they can think of.

‘We now need someone to bring a test case to establish the rights of drivers here.’

Many of the town halls that have installed automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems in their car parks are operating outside the law

Many of the town halls that have installed automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems in their car parks are operating outside the law

In his letter to councils, Mr Goodwill said: ‘Local authorities are expected to comply with the relevant legislation and guidance, and are accountable to their electorates.

‘I would hope that you would reconsider any plans to enforce your off-street parking outside the framework.’

He added that council parking should be entirely separate from privately-run parking. The minister told the Mail yesterday: ‘This Government is on the side of the motorist; local authority car parks are on public land and it isn’t right for councils to target unsuspecting motorists with powers that were never intended for this use.’

Last night two councils of at least 30 in England that have ANPR car parks – Welwyn Hatfield and Cheltenham – said they were reviewing their operations.

The RAC Foundation also yesterday challenged the right of private car park operators to impose fines for people who overstay while parking on private land. It said £100 penalties, usually reduced to £50 for payment within two weeks, could be overthrown by the court and declared legally unenforceable.


Cameras are linked to computers which recognise numbers and letters on a plate

Cameras are linked to computers which recognise numbers and letters on a plate

Automatic number plate recognition allows cameras to read car number plates.

Invented in Britain in the 1970s, its use by police was followed up by private car park operators who use it because cameras do all the work. Fewer, if any, attendants are needed.

Cameras are linked to computers which recognise numbers and letters on a plate, check cars coming into a car park and then recognise it when it leaves.

If the driver has not paid, or the car has been in the car park longer than allowed, the operator sends the number to the DVLA which will send on the details of the owner’s address to the operator.

The operator will send out a penalty notice – which is unofficial but carries a similar name to the statutory penalty charge notices sent out by councils – demanding a fine be paid.

But it is illegal for councils to use it because the system is deemed to be unreliable.


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2960986/Thousands-rip-parking-fines-dished-town-hall-car-parks-illegally-using-automatic-number-plate-recognition.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Rising bollard in Cambridge finally repaired after EIGHT months

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A rising bollard will be back in action on Friday – some EIGHT months after it first broke down.

A catalogue of blunders and bad luck has left the rising bollard in St John’s Street out of action since last summer, leaving a traffic “free for all” with cars able to pile into the city centre.

But Cambridgeshire County Council highways officer Andy Fisher promised last week’s west central area committee it would be back up and running this week after months of delays.

“The rising bollards are fantastic when they work, they go through the usual maintenance and they benefit the core centre of Cambridge when they work by keeping out an awful lot of traffic,” he said.

“But when they do go wrong, there are obviously increased levels of traffic and it’s not acceptable.”

The St John’s bollard works differently to others in the city, because people such as blue badge holders can get through using an electronic card.

However, the company that makes the cards stopped manufacturing them last year, meaning new cards could not have been issued.

Work has since been ongoing to improve the system, but the bollard has been left down in the meantime, allowing access to the 250-or-so cardholders and any other motorist who chanced their arm.

“The levels of traffic we see in the city centre should be more reflective of that, rather than the free-for-all we’ve got at the moment,” said Mr Fisher.

Repairs to the bollards have been further delayed due to faults with a sensor that detects vehicles going over them, which Mr Fisher said was left in a bad state after some waterworks.

There has been even more bad news for the council, with the transponders that are fitted to vehicles to allow them through rising bollards having also stopped being manufactured.

Mr Fisher told the meeting the council would now restrict the times cards could get through the bollards to encourage people to hand cards back, rather than holding onto them and waiving their deposit.

He also said the council was considering an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system to replace the current arrangement, at the prompting of cycling campaigner Jim Chisholm.

“The bollards have a huge failing – in that they always fail. The ANPR systems now are much more reliable and much more comprehensive,” said Mr Chisholm.

“If you can issue civil enforcement, you can gain some income from those people with their expensive cars who decide they’re going to break the regulations every other day.”

Article source: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Rising-bollard-Cambridge-finally-repaired-months/story-26130988-detail/story.html

Crime-free villages praised for community spirit

08:15 09 March 2015

Wattisham village

More than 20 Suffolk neighbourhoods have the enviable claim of reporting no crime whatsoever in the last year, according to new statistics.

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Wilby in Suffolk.

Not a single offence was recorded in many undisturbed villages and hamlets across the county during 2014, leading police to praise community spirit and acknowledge rural prevention schemes.

For the second year running, of those places where crime did take place, the ward with the lowest crime rate per head of population was Worlingworth with just 13.6 incidents reported per 1,000 people.

The neighbouring village of Wilby was among 25 locations fortunate enough to be spared any crime at all.

Figures released by Suffolk Observatory, which collects and publishes data from a range of organisations, show the total number of crimes across Suffolk was 38,179 – a rate of 52 per 1,000 people. The average across England and Wales from April 2013 to March 2014 was 66 per 1,000.

Suffolk’s Detective Chief Inspector Tonya Antonis said rural patrols were helping to drive down crime and urged all communities to be active in neighbourhood policing.

Among the other crime ‘not-spots’ were Kettlebaston, Little Finborough, Wangford, Bedingfield, Gosbeck, Gedgrave and Rumburgh.

The rate across the county remains lower than average but police want to continue driving it down and are urging people in built up areas like Ipswich – where 11,000 crimes were reported last year to adopt the sense of community more commonly found in the countryside.

DCI Antonis said: “It is great to see certain parishes without any crime.

“We are one of the higher performing counties – particularly for burglary in a dwelling.

“We continue to see a drop in burglaries and robberies, and an increase in solved rates and reports of offences.

“But it’s not all about figures. Our message is for anyone who sees anything suspicious in their neighbourhood to let us know.

“Smaller communities tend to be more inclined to report suspicious activity.”

Rural crime is also a priority for Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, who last year introduced two dedicated teams of rural special constables, including volunteers from the farming industry.

Suffolk’s first rural crime officer was also appointed and equipped with a Land Rover carrying the latest Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system.

DCI Antonis said: “One of Mr Passmore’s priorities is rural crime. Proactive resources put officers out in rural areas.

“Community safety partnerships do great work getting messages out and dedicated patrols are a big deterrent, but it’s also a lot to do with smaller areas having more of a community feel.

“We’re not complacent. Crime still goes on across Suffolk. We recently had a series of burglaries in the west of the county, as well as a spate in Ipswich, and have dedicated resources to deal with that.

“In rural areas we’ve seen a spate of theft of lead from churches. That is a real priority for us. It’s the type of crime that can have a real impact on a community.”

Apart from the crime-free villages, the ward with fewest crimes last year was Rattlesden.

Wilby was among the smaller parishes to enjoy a crime-free year. With a population of just over 200, it has a primary school and a village hall but no longer has any shops or pubs.

Ian Williamson, parish chairman, said: “This is a very settled community.

“I have lived here for 10 years and been on the parish council for the last six. We’re all grateful to benefit from a very low rate of crime.

“We’re a very small village and don’t have a neighbourhood watch scheme. There are just 28 houses in the centre of the village, with the rest spread out around us on farmland.

“We have had quite a number of new people in the village over the years, and an affordable housing scheme is being built at the moment.

“We are on the main road between Framlingham and Stradbroke but the traffic is principally domestic and agricultural.”

Article source: http://www.eadt.co.uk/crime_free_villages_praised_for_community_spirit_1_3982826

Jon-Jo murder trial hears mobile phone evidence

Jonjo Highton and Taylor

  • Traffic cameras tracked defendant’s car

  • Texts asked to borrow black trainers

  • Two defendants leave the dock ill

JURORS in the trial of several men accused of various roles in the murder of Jon-Jo Highton have heard how the defendants are connected by phone evidence and ANPR footage.

Eight men are accused of murder and three of assisting an offender, relating to the 18-year-old’s death from a blade injury to the neck on Stephen’s Road in Deepdale, Preston, on August 23.

Giving evidence at Preston Crown Court, Det Sgt Wendy Ryan described how number plate recognition cameras had caught a Citroen Saxo, registered in the name of defendant Joshua Bore, 19, of Morris Road, Ribbleton, travelling out of Preston on the day of the murder, and returning later in the afternoon, with pictures appearing to show two people in the car.

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Over the same period, cell siting technology of mobile phones believed to be used by Bore and Walton, shows the phones were in Farington, Leyland, and later back in Ribbleton, Preston.

Prosecuting, Neil Flewitt asked her questions about various calls and text messages made between different defendants alleged to be linked to Jon-Jo’s murder.

The court was shown different slides on television screens depicting how police believe various phones and defendants were linked, and some of the communication between them on the day of Jon-Jo’s death.

Try get a ting bro I’ll use it

Three defendants were excused from the dock – two due to illness – as the evidence was heard.

DS Ryan went on to say evidence shows Arron Graham, 23, of Ripon Street, texting a woman asking if he could “borrow black trainers”.

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The court also heard there were three calls made to Bore’s phone from William Bore, 46, of Morris Road, Ribbleton.

He is Joshua Bore and Liam Tunstall’s father, and is accused of perverting the course of justice.

Earlier in the hearing, firearms and gangs expert Martin Bird, who works for the National Crime Agency, gave evidence via a written statement, in which he referred to a text message allegedly sent by Graham to co-defendant Owen Whitesmith, 19, of Glebe Close, Fulwood.

He said the message: “Try get a ting bro I’ll use it”, could be slang used by gangsters to mean gun and is derived from Jamaican patois – but could also be a shortened term of “thing”.

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The defendants all deny the charges and the case continues.

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Police make seven drug searches in Tolladine today

Police have busy day in Gorse Hill area of city

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POLICE in Tolladine, Worcester, carried out seven drug searches today.

Gorse Hill Safer Neighbourhood Team also seized a vehicle and dealt with one driver who was reported for having no tax.

Worcester SNTs tweeted: “ANPR day completed by Gorse Hill SNT and @ForceOpsTasking in Tolladine, 7 drug searches, 1 vehicle seizure and a driver reported for no tax.”

Article source: http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/11824871.Police_make_seven_drug_searches_in_Tolladine_today/?ref=rss

Man charged in connection with car pursuit in Seaford after officers stop vehicle


A man has been charged in connection with a pursuit in Seaford which ended when officers stopped a car – outside their police station, police have said.

Officers on routine patrol around Peacehaven took interest in a vehicle when it showed up on their onboard ANPR camera as having no insurance.

The vehicle allegedly failed to stop when officers approached it at around 12.10pm on Wednesday (February 18), police said.

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However the pursuit ended safely a short time later when officers boxed it in next to Seaford Police Station, police said.

Luca Wright, 23, of Rosemary Close, Peacehaven, has been charged on suspicion of driving while disqualified, driving without insurance and aggravated vehicle taking, police said.

He was due to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court today (Thursday February 19), police said.

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Article source: http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/county-news/man-charged-in-connection-with-car-pursuit-in-seaford-after-officers-stop-vehicle-outside-their-own-police-station-1-6590565

Road rage driver punches car after stopping on A12

Road rage driver punches car after stopping on A12

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A DRIVER who stopped his car on the A12 and began punching another car is being sought by police.

The road rage incident happened on the A12 near Stratford St Mary at the section of the road where speed cameras are being installed and close to the Dedham junction.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: “Police are appealing for witnesses after an incident of road rage in Capel St Mary.

“The male driver of a green coloured Mercedes flashed his headlights and honked his horn at the driver of a green Volvo whilst driving along a section of roadworks.

“The Mercedes driver overtook, but then pulled in front of the Volvo and stopped his vehicle, causing traffic to come to a standstill.

“The male driver of the Mercedes got out of the vehicle and began swearing and punching the victim’s car.

“The offender got back in his vehicle and sped off.”

The extremely dangerous incident happened at about 6.30pm on Sunday, February 15.

Police want to speak to anybody who saw the man who were caught in the traffic or anyone who saw the incident while passing on the other side of the road.

Fortunately traffic was travelling at a slower speed than usual due to the roadworks and nobody is believed to have been hurt.

Anyone with information relating to this crime call PC Guy Morris from Hadleigh on 101 quoting HD/15/266 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Article source: http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/11808108.Road_rage_driver_punches_car_after_stopping_on_A12/?ref=rss