ROGUE waste operators, illegal scrap services and unroadworthy vehicles were targeted in an operation to seek out criminals involved in rural crime.

Nottinghamshire Police, Newark and Sherwood District Council, the DVSA, Environment Agency and HM Revenue and Customs were involved in the operation to clamp down on offences such as fly-tipping, no tax, MOT and insurance, illegal red diesel use and scrap metal crime.

During 'Operation Metallica', 21 vehicles were stopped by police, which found three vehicles to be driven without insurance, one with a failed MOT and one without tax. All vans stopped were subject to inspections by the different agencies to ensure that it was compliant with all aspects of the law.

One of the aims was to address issues highlighted by the district council's anti fly-tipping campaign, Not in Newark and Sherwood. Rogue waste operators are actively collecting rubbish on behalf of unwitting residents and often just dump it on other people's land or in public.

A waste carrier license is a legal requirement for services involved in transporting, buying, selling or disposing of waste and as part of the operation, officers from the district council checked every vehicle involved to ensure they were compliant. Similarly, scrap metal dealers are also required to have a license allowing them to collect scrap metal.

A number of vehicles found carrying waste failed to produce a licence and have seven days to produce the document or will face legal action.

Inspector Heather Sutton, District Commander for Newark and Sherwood, said: "It's vital we all take road safety seriously and we will continue to enforce against those who breach this. We have more operations planned in across the district."

Alan Batty, district council business manager for public protection, said: "Fly-tipping generally occurs by corner cutting individuals that think they can flout the law and our Not in Newark and Sherwood campaign is actively targeting perpetrators of environmental crime.

"We recently successfully prosecuted a number of individuals involved in fly-tipping including one case which was subject to the maximum possible fine. This operation was the first of many stop and check days that will take place across the district in partnership with police and we will do everything possible to take action on rogue waste operators."

DVSA examiners reviewed the roadworthiness of every vehicle. Six vans stopped were found to be defective, three of which had such serious faults that they were subject to an immediate roadside prohibition, preventing them from driving the vehicle until the faults were fixed.

Inspectors from HM Revenue and Customs conducted fuel testing. Red diesel - which is used for many industries in machinery and equipment - is illegal when used in cars, trucks or any machines used for pleasure and on public roads.