Direct Line is to join the fight to remove uninsured drivers from the UK by sponsoring police initiatives to destroy cars driven without legal cover.

The direct insurer is working in partnership with Durham Police, the first constabulary to implement the car-crushing scheme, to help remove 800 cars from the road by the end of the year.

A spokeswoman for Direct Line said: "What we are offering the police is financial support in achieving their aim of reducing the number of uninsured cars on the road while sending out a clear message that this kind of thing will not be tolerated."

Durham Police said it cost about £60 to crush a car, many of which were already un-roadworthy.

Under the scheme, recommended in the Greenaway Report, cars driven without insurance will be impounded for up to 14 days. They can be reclaimed within that period on payment of cost of recovery and storage, and provision of evidence of insurance. If the car is not reclaimed it will then be crushed.

The spokeswoman said: "Direct Line believes the insurance industry should be doing everything it can to stamp out uninsured driving and to alleviate the burden many insurers are putting on law abiding motorists."