MOTORISTS who were caught driving in North Yorkshire without insurance have had their cars scrapped.

The county's police force has scrapped 24 cars as part of a campaign to get uninsured drivers off the roads.

The scheme ensures that drivers strongly suspected of being uninsured are prevented from driving vehicles on the road.

Officers dealing with uninsured drivers arrange to have the vehicle taken to a garage and owners are only able to recover them after producing valid driving documentation, including insurance, and by paying all recovery and storage costs.

Owners can sign disclaimers for immediate disposal of their vehicles if they want to avoid paying the costs.

Otherwise, they have 14 days in which to comply with the policy and collect their vehicle. Failure to do so results in the disposal of the vehicle in addition to prosecution for all offences committed.

The scheme is designed to combat the ever-increasing number of uninsured drivers on the roads, estimated to be costing legal drivers £250m each year in higher premiums.

It is also believed that many criminals use uninsured vehicles to commit crime - police estimate that 23 per cent of all crime may be committed by travelling criminals.

Police chiefs believe that targeting uninsured drivers will deny criminals use of the roads and help to reduce crime.

They say it will also make roads much safer for the general public, and claim the scheme is supported by the law-abiding majority.

In the first two weeks of the scheme, 50 vehicles have been seized. Of those, 24 owners signed immediate disclaimers and their vehicles were destroyed. The other 26 are pending collection.

More than 65 per cent of drivers stopped under the scheme were found to have previous criminal convictions.

Chief constable Della Cannings said: "Uninsured drivers are a menace on our roads and an affront to all lawful road users.

"Practical experience has shown that many of these people, who are willing to put others at risk by driving without insurance, have previously been in trouble with the police, so this scheme not only tackles the issue of motoring offences, it also targets travelling criminals.

"I see it as a huge step forward and expect it to be very successful."