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Joint operation involving northern police forces targets travelling criminals

Last modified: 10 June 2016 at 10:39am

Police in North Yorkshire have teamed up with other forces in a region-wide joint operation targeting travelling criminals.

Operation Checkpoint, involving Northumbria, Durham, Cleveland, Cumbria and North Yorkshire police forces, targeted travelling criminals across the north of England and the borders.

Over 100 officers from the five forces, along with colleagues from partner agencies and volunteers, took part in the operation yesterday, Wednesday 23 September.

The joint operation resulted in 270 vehicles being stopped, seven arrests made, £10,000 in cash seized, nine vehicles seized and 17 motorists dealt with for a variety of offences across all the force areas of the North of England.

All seven of those arrests were in North Yorkshire:

  • Officers stopped a vehicle travelling south on the A1 near Tadcaster. Two men from West Yorkshire were arrested on suspicion of possessing criminal property, and possession with intent to supply a class A drug, and £10,000 cash was seized. The men remain in custody at this time.
  • Five men from the Stockton-on-Tees area were arrested on suspicion of poaching offences near Knayton, and two vehicles seized. Four have since been charged with poaching and trespassing on land with a firearm, the fifth released with no further action.

Also in North Yorkshire, a further three uninsured vehicles were seized, and a total of six traffic offence reports issued for disqualified driving, no insurance and no MOT.

The operation is the seventh of its kind over the past two years and is designed to gather intelligence about travelling criminals, disrupt their use of the road network, bring anyone found breaking the law to justice and reassure local rural communities that police are tackling rural crime.

The operation was staged from yesterday evening into the early hours of this morning with the various forces targeting their resources in rural areas where travelling criminals commit crime and disrupt communities. In North Yorkshire, activity centred around the Hambleton and Richmondshire areas.

The operation included support from Farmwatch volunteers, who joined officers in rural locations to look out for suspicious vehicles. A total of 32 volunteers supported the operation in North Yorkshire, operating from 16 vehicles.

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

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “This operation is an excellent opportunity to work with neighbouring forces to protect our area from travelling criminals, and our results are a clear indication of its success.

“We know that some people are willing to travel many miles to come to North Yorkshire, using our road network to commit crime and prey on rural communities. Operation Checkpoint supports our ongoing Operation Hawk, sending a very clear message to criminals – if you come to North Yorkshire to commit crime, we will catch you.”

Superintendent Mick Paterson, of Northumbria Police, added: “Working together with other forces, partner agencies and our communities helps us to continue to gather intelligence about suspected travelling criminals. By stopping and checking vehicles we are taking action to not just disrupt their criminal activities but also make sure we continue to identify offenders and deal with them.”

Members of the public can help Operation Hawk in North Yorkshire by reporting any suspicious people or activity. Please call 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room. If an emergency response is required, always dial 999. Information can be passed on without giving your name by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

24 September 2015

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