POLICE have seized 90 uninsured and untaxed vehicles as part of a week-long campaign against illegal drivers.

The figure takes the number of vehicles towed away this year after being identified by North Yorkshire Police's Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) unit to 500 - double the force's target for 2006.

Officers teamed up with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for a week of action against drivers with no insurance or road tax in Thirsk, Northallerton, York, Scarborough and Harrogate.

The 500th seizure took place in Scarborough.

In total, there were 69 vehicles seized for having no tax, 20 vehicles seized for having no insurance, 137 fixed penalty tickets issued for having no tax and 26 people reported for summons.

Eight people were arrested for various offences, including five for producing false insurance certificates with intent to deceive.

Two were arrested to establish their true names and addresses after they committed motoring offences.

Sergeant Ian Butler, who was in charge of the operation, said: "There is little doubt that the operation was a success for both North Yorkshire Police and the DVLA, which resulted in a significant number of vehicles being taken off the road.

"The key point is that ANPR denies criminals the use of the roads and targets offenders in all guises - from people with no car tax through to travelling criminals.

"In our experience, there is no doubt that there's a link between untaxed and uninsured vehicles and other criminal activity - they often come hand-in-hand."

The ANPR unit was launched in June 2003.

Last year, it was responsible for more than 400 arrests and the seizure of £300,000-worth of drugs and stolen property.

Earlier this year, a national report that compared ANPR units from around the UK said North Yorkshire Police's performance was except-ional.

ANPR Inspector Ian Wills said: "To seize 500 vehicles with more than a full month left in the year is a remarkable achievement.

"The effectiveness of ANPR is there to be seen and we are more determined than ever to utilise the technology to root-out motoring offenders and travelling criminals."