http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/...+a+mobile...+and+lose+your+vehicle/article.do Use a mobile... and lose your vehicle 01.02.07 Add your view Controversial powers for police to confiscate vehicles if their driver is using a mobile or not wearing a seatbelt are to be used across London. Police chiefs say an eight-month trial of Operation Reclaim - nicknamed "stop and seize" - has led to a 29 per cent drop in serious crimes such as robbery and burglary in west London. A total of 1,800 cars, vans and motorcycles were impounded during the trial in Hounslow, using powers introduced last year under the Road Traffic Act that allow police to pull over vehicles that have aroused their suspicion. Most drivers lost their vehicles after they were stopped for relatively minor traffic offences. Others were pulled over because officers suspected they were carrying drugs or were on their way to commit a crime. Many were also found to be driving without a licence, insurance or an MOT. Specialist number plate-reading cameras were deployed to pinpoint wanted vehicles and known offenders. Sgt Stuart Buchan of Heston police, who led the operation, claimed it had a major knock-on effect on more serious offences. He said: "Motorists were not stopped randomly, officers targeted known criminals. If you're going to be breaking into a house to steal a plasma-screen TV or a computer then you are probably going to be driving. "If you are going to be committing burglary or robbery then you are probably not too worried about having a driving licence or MOT. "By stopping and seizing vehicles from drug dealers and burglars you are going make it difficult for them to commit crimes." However, civil rights groups expressed concern at Operation Reclaim, warning that it could lead to certain groups being picked on by police. Gareth Crossman, policy director of Liberty, said: "Unfortunately, broad new police powers to stop and search cars 'at random' too often results in racial and ethnic minorities being unfairly targeted. "As this scheme is rolled out across London we urge officers to remember that a person's race alone can never be the basis for suspicion." Police were unable to provide information on how many criminal convictions resulted from the trial, or figures showing the ethnic breakdown of those stopped.