Police join forces for rural crime crackdown

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North Yorkshire Police has joined forces with officers from neighbouring regions to lead an operation against rural criminals.

Officers from the Richmond and Hambleton Safer Neighbourhood Command, together with colleagues from Durham and Cumbria, carried out the joint action on Wednesday night.

They were assisted by nearly 100 volunteers from watch schemes in the area.

During the overnight operation, officers stopped a total of 59 people and vehicles, including 11 in North Yorkshire, 32 in Durham and 25 in Cumbria.

Two cars were also seized by officers. Following a routine stop the first vehicle was seized in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. As a result, the driver was arrested on suspicion of drugs offences. The car also contained power tools which officers believe are stolen.

The second car was stopped in West Auckland, Durham because it had no insurance. The driver was arrested for drugs offences.

Sergeant Chris Knox, of Barnard Castle police, said: “In terms of closing the gate on criminals committing offences in rural areas I believe this operation has been a great success.”

The operation covered an area of around 1,800 square miles.

There were no crimes reported In the Richmondshire area while the joint action was running.

Sgt Stuart Grainger, of Leyburn Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “I would like to thank the volunteers from the Rural Watch schemes.

“Without their willingness to give up their spare time and using their local knowledge, it would not have been possible to cover such a wide area. As a result of the vital funding the Daleswatch and Borderwatch schemes receive from the Richmond Community Safety Partnership they are continuing to grow in strength.

“This means as well as new members joining existing watch groups, new groups covering other areas of the district are being established.”