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Police forces join together in Operation Checkpoint for rural crime clampdown

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A major operation targeting rural crime, involving six police forces across the north of England, resulted in hundreds of vehicles being stopped and checked and a number of arrests.

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).

Across the region, hundreds of vehicles were stopped for proactive checks. In North Yorkshire, 60 vehicles were stopped and several searched, resulting in five arrests for burglary, theft and drug driving, along with two other vehicles seized.

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 North Yorkshire, the operation involved officers, PCSOs and Special Constables from the force’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Rural Taskforce, alongside Mobile Rural Watch volunteers.

Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, 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.

“The support of our volunteers, such as members of Mobile Rural Watch schemes, is also an invaluable part of the operation. With their local knowledge, we were able deploy effectively across hundreds of square miles, directing officers to key points of interest and suspicious activity. 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.”

Temporary Inspector Fay Cole, of Cleveland Police, added: “Rural criminals are often organised in what they do and will not only target the rural communities of Cleveland but will travel across our borders. A number of vehicles were stopped and valuable intelligence gained during last night’s operation, which we will build on in partnership with our neighbouring and regional forces.”

Last modified: February 8, 2019