Police praise volunteers as six people are arrested in overnight operation

NORTH YORKSHIRE Police made six arrests as part of a major crackdown on criminals targeting the county's rural areas.

Operation Checkpoint was directed at cross-border criminals and involved traffic officers and specialist units and dozens of volunteers.

The overnight operation saw 119 vehicles stopped and checked, and 15 breath tests carried out. Tickets were issued for seatbelt, tyre, tax, insurance and MoT offences, with six vehicles seized. There were three untaxed, two uninsured and one which was suspected to be stolen.

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A 53-year-old Hartlepool man was arrested on suspicion of going equipped for theft. Two men from the Richmondshire area were arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine with intent to supply. A quantity of drugs was seized.

Two men from Middlesbrough, aged 29 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of going equipped for theft after being stopped and searched by officers on Bedale Road, Scotton. Items including a torch, mask and a glass hammer were seized.

A 19-year-old man from Eaglescliffe, near Middlesbrough, was arrested after officers stopped a Fiat Punto on the B1365 near Stokesley due to its manner of driving.

The driver failed a roadside drugs test for cannabis and was arrested on suspicion of drug driving.

A total of 42 volunteer Watch members joined the operation, acting as the “eyes and ears” of the police and providing vital information about suspicious vehicles and activity in rural areas.

Sgt Stuart Grainger, of Leyburn Police, said: “Once again we owe a big thanks to our volunteer Watch teams for the hard work and commitment they show across our rural areas.”

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said: “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.”