Two illegal immigrants have been deported and seven vehicles seized in the last month as part of a 'stop and search' blitz organised by police in Brentford.
Officers from Syon, Brentford, Isleworth and Osterley Safer Neighbourhood Teams using powers granted by the Terrorism Act have carried out four operations in Chiswick High Road in Brentford.
Between February 17 and March 19, 254 cars have been searched, three people arrested, seven vehicles seized, four fixed penalty notices given and two drug searches carried out.
Sgt Peter Murphy, from Syon SNT, explained that although in theory they are looking for potential terrorists they are more likely to find different kinds of offenders.
"Any of the cars we stop at random could have a bomb or wires in it, but it's also important to catch drivers with no insurance and driving licences," he told the Chronicle.
"It's important to catch these drivers because everybody else is paying for their accidents. Also drug users and burglars tend to be the sort that don't bother with insurance, so if we can seize their vehicles then they can't get around to commit crime.
"Most people we pull over are very pleased when they hear why we are doing it."
Tony Langellier, 61, was one of the drivers pulled over at random during an operation attended by the Chronicle last Thursday.
"My first reaction was that I was being accused of doing something wrong," he said. "But if it stops people driving without insurance it's got to be a good thing, also knowing what the USA is going through I'm glad they have terrorism on their minds, even if they aren't likely to catch any doing this."
However, Craig Vandenbergha, a 27-year-old plumber, branded the operation a 'pain'.
"We are going to get into trouble off the customers when we get to the job late," he fumed. "Fair enough if they hope to catch terrorists, but stopping two plumbers when they can see we are working is, I think, a waste of time."
However police insist that random searches are the only fair way and also help to ensure nobody slips through the net.
One van which was pulled over during an earlier operation contained two illegal immigrants, who were later deported.
And when police pulled over a seemingly innocent father driving his son to school last Thursday, they discovered the 42-year-old from Iran did not have a driving licence and seized his car.
The north London man, translated by his 16-year-old son, earlier told the Chronicle: "It's really good that they are stopping cars for people's safety and security."
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