18/05/2016

Police forces unite to tackle cross-border criminals in country's largest rural policing operation

A major operation involving six police forces saw a clampdown on criminals in rural areas across the north of England last night.

Dozens of officers from North Yorkshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire and Northumbria, took part in Operation Checkpoint on Tuesday 17 May 2016.

Checkpoint is the largest rural policing operation of its kind in the country. It aims to gather intelligence about travelling criminals, disrupt their use of the road network and bring anyone found breaking the law to justice. The latest operation is the tenth of its kind since January 2014.

Intelligence shows that organised crime groups from across the north of England are involved in thefts, burglaries and handling stolen property, targeting rural areas in particular. These criminals use their extensive knowledge of the road networks across the region in an attempt to avoid detection.

Last night’s operation took place between 3pm yesterday, Tuesday 17th May, and 3am today, Wednesday 18th May. Police used Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to target vehicles suspected of being linked to criminality, as well as checking vehicles in suspicious circumstances and focusing on key locations. Volunteer members of local Watch schemes provided valuable assistance, acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the police.

Across the region, more than ten vehicles were seized, for offences including no insurance, failing to stop for police and no tax. Officers also dealt with people for offences of cannabis possession and drink driving.

In Cleveland, more than 30 officers, Police Community Support Officers and Special Constables participated in the operation and they focused on the entire force area in Cleveland.

28 vehicles were stopped in total, three drivers and their vehicles were searched and seized, which led to three arrests.
A man aged 52 and a female aged 17 were arrested on suspicion of failing to stop for police, dangerous driving and drink driving and a man aged 30 was arrested on suspicion of driving without insurance or a license. 

 The 30 year-old male and the 17- year-old female remain in custody and the 52-year-old male has been released on bail pending further enquires.

Integrated Neighbourhood Team, Inspector Daniel Harrison, who was leading the operation in Cleveland, said: “Operation Checkpoint is a great way to reassure our local communities that we are present and trying our hardest to stop crime from being committed in our rural areas.

“By working together with neighbouring forces, we are not only building a strong relationship with them, but we are sending out a clear message that any illegal activity will not be tolerated and we are working as a team to clamp down on criminals.”

Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said: “I am fully supportive of this operation. The Cleveland Police force area is predominantly urban but contains large areas of rural and farmland bordering both the North Yorkshire and Durham force areas.

“It is important that we continue to take part in these operations to ensure that our local communities are safe and that we are tackling rural crime and the travelling criminals that target vulnerable and rural properties.”