TWO people have been arrested in connection with three suspected distraction thefts on "vulnerable victims" following a police sting operation in Worcester.

We reported last week how 38 vehicles were pulled over at Sixways Stadium as part of an initiative to curb the activities of rogue traders and criminals. Officers on motorbikes and in unmarked cars pulled over suspect vehicles on the M5 near junction six last Wednesday in an operation involving between 25 and 30 police officers.

The joint sting involved officers from West Mercia Police and the Central Motorway Police Group and experts from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and HM Revenue and Customs identified drivers with defective vehicles, no insurance, no licence and using illegal fuel (red diesel and foreign, untaxed fuel).

One of those arrested was a Romanian driver who had no insurance after he was stopped by the Central Motorway Police group (CMPG). Whilst in custody he was charged with the offence and bailed to attend Kidderminster Magistrates Court the next morning (Thursday).

When the CMPG officers came back on duty the next day, they found out the man had been identified through forensics as being wanted in connection with the theft of £300 during a distraction theft inside a bank in Ross on Wye. Officers went straight to Kidderminster Magistrates Court and arrested both the man and a woman who had been travelling with him for the theft offence, as she matched the description of a female offender wanted in connection with the same offence.

Both have now been charged with this offence and two other distraction theft offences committed in Market Drayton on February 2 and November 25 last year.

Safer Neighbourhood Team inspector Helen Wain said: "This is a great result and excellent police work by PS 3182 Dean Caswell and his CMPG staff working alongside the South Worcestershire Safer Neighbourhood Teams to tackle rogue trading."