VILLAGERS near Chester can sleep easy following a police crackdown on convoys of lorries speeding past their homes in the dead of night.

For months residents living close to the A41 and A51 have endured sleepless nights due to the noise from passing HGVs.

Some even reported ornaments and picture frames being knocked off mantelpieces by the vibrations generated.

But Cheshire Police chiefs listened to the concerns raised by Christleton Parish Council's speeding group and launched a two-day operation called Operation Hazard last week.

Over the course of two nights on Wednesday and Thursday, 22 lorries were ordered to pull into the park and ride car park on nearby Wrexham Road for inspections.

Drivers were then hit with fines totalling almost £3,000 for a range of offences including speeding and exceeding their legal quota of driving hours.

Police and residents say many of the lorries use the road to travel to and from the port at Holyhead, and to bypass the notoriously troublesome M6.

Sgt Anton Sullivan who ran the operation said: “We have reacted to the issues which our community has raised to us and taken this action as a result.

“We are pleased to have given lorry companies who travel through the county a reminder that we will not tolerate speeding through the villages of Chester.”

Cllr Simon Kent, of Christleton Parish Council, told the Leader: “This is great news for residents. It has been a problem for some time now, lorries travelling in convoy in the middle of the night and exceeding the speed limit.

“It causes a lot of noise and vibrations and we’ve had reports from residents that they can't sleep and of things falling off mantelpieces.”

The parish council looked at funding a speed camera but felt the £100,000 cost, plus £10,000 a year for upkeep, was too much to ask of residents.

A meeting with the county's police and crime commissioner then set the ball rolling for police to team up with other agencies for a campaign to deter lorry drivers from breaking the rules.

Cllr Kent said: “The message seems to be getting out now. It's been great to be able to slow the traffic down and we've noticed a slight reduction in speeding since then.

“The police now know it’s a ‘target-rich environment’ and we think there will be more operations to come, on a random basis.”

He added: “It’s nice to be able to say we listened to people and we've done something about it with the help of the police, who have been great.”

Sgt Sullivan said “We know one operation won’t change the behaviour of these lorry drivers overnight.

“We will continue to monitor the situation.”