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 Police forces join together for rural crime clampdown


​A MAJOR operation targeting rural crime, involving six police forces across the north of England, took place last night.

More than 110 police officers, PCSOs and Special Constables from the North Yorkshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire and Northumbria forces worked alongside almost 100 volunteers for ‘Operation Checkpoint’ yesterday night (Thursday 7 February 2019).

Operation Checkpoint first ran in January 2014, and remains the largest operation of its kind in the country. The forces involved share intelligence and information and patrol across force boundaries to target criminals, disrupting their use of the road network in rural areas and bringing anyone found breaking the law to justice.

Police tactics included the widespread use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to locate vehicles suspected of being connected to crime, as well as targeting vehicles seen in suspicious circumstances.

In County Durham and Darlington, the operation involved officers, PCSOs and Special Constables from the force’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams who worked alongside Farm Watch volunteers, mountain rescue teams and members of the community.

Dozens of vehicles were stopped and checked to help prevent and disrupt criminal activity in rural areas and gather intelligence.

Inspector Ed Turner, who led the operation for Durham Constabulary, said: “As always, Operation Checkpoint sends a clear message to criminals using the road networks to target our rural communities that their illegal activity won’t be tolerated.

“We have excellent working relationships with neighbouring forces, and operations like Checkpoint help us share resources and information to clamp down on criminals, wherever they are from and wherever they are going.

“We have had incredible support from volunteers, including mountain rescue teams, Farm Watch volunteers and members of the local community. It was also great to see so many new faces come out to help us last night who have recently joined up to the Farm Watch scheme. If anybody would like to join local Farm Watch, they should contact their local neighbourhood policing team on 101.

“It is only with their support and local knowledge that we are able to run operations like Checkpoint and effectively target rural crime. Once again, we’re extremely grateful for their efforts.

“Local people can be reassured that we our proactive work will continue to make life extremely difficult for criminals, and protect our rural communities.”