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Volunteers praised as travelling criminals are snared in cross-border clampdown

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Dozens of North Yorkshire Police officers, Special Constables and local Watch volunteers joined four other forces in a major clampdown on travelling criminals.

Last night’s Operation Checkpoint resulted in more than 200 vehicles being stopped and checked across the North of England – 127 of them in the North Yorkshire area alone – and saw several arrests and vehicle seizures.

A total of 109 officers from the North Yorkshire, Durham, Cleveland, Cumbria and Northumbria forces took part in the operation, working alongside 104 volunteers including farmers and residents who are part of regular Farmwatch operations in their local force area. In North Yorkshire, more than 25 officers were joined by 36 volunteer Watch members and four Special Constables on the operation.


Last night’s operation was the sixth of its kind since January 2014, and was designed to gather intelligence about travelling criminals, disrupt their use of the road network and bring anyone found breaking the law to justice.

The latest event was led by Durham Constabulary and tailored to work with the well-established cross-border Farmwatch operations which are organised several times a year.

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Our Watch volunteers consistently show dedication, persistence, and a real loyalty to their areas. Many of them have been helping their local police for many years now and they make a massive contribution to keeping rural crime down. They are a fantastic support to our local rural policing teams and for that they deserve our thanks and praise.”

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said: “The work volunteers do in helping police protect rural communities is not only fantastic to see, but really important, as you can see by these results.”

“I would encourage anyone effected by rural crime and policing to fill in the National Rural Crime Survey, so they can have their say about the future of policing services in their community:http://www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net/survey?member=NorthYorkshire.”

Other 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.

Of the 127 vehicles stopped in North Yorkshire, three were seized for no insurance, and 12 Traffic Offence Reports were issued for offences including no MOT, using a mobile phone while driving and bald tyres. Two men were arrested on suspicion of going equipped to steal, after tools and equipment were found in their van. They remain in custody at this time. There was also a further arrest for criminal damage.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Edgar, of Durham Constabulary, said: “The operation is evidence of our continuing commitment to targeting criminals who seek to cause harm in communities throughout the region. The use of ANPR and other intelligence enables us to identify and intercept offenders as they travel throughout the North East and Borders in order to prevent and detect crime. Operations of this scale send a clear message to those travelling on the road network with criminal intent that they will be identified and they will be arrested.

“There will be further operations at other times throughout the year and if anyone has concerns or information which could assist, we would urge them to contact their local police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

27 May 2015

Last modified: June 22, 2016