07/10/2016

Nowhere to hide for cross-border criminals, as police forces unite in country’s largest rural policing operation

Dozens of police officers and volunteers took part in a major clampdown on rural criminals on Wednesday 5th October.

Operation Checkpoint is the largest rural policing operation of its kind in the country, and saw Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Northumbria join forces to target cross-border criminals.

Running from 3pm on Wednesday 5th October to 3am yesterday, Thursday 6th October, the six forces co-ordinated intelligence-led deployments, static vehicle checkpoints and proactive visits to vulnerable premises.

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.

Checkpoint targets, disrupts and deters vehicles suspected of being linked to criminality by deploying officers and volunteers with expert knowledge of their local area, crime patterns, intelligence and road network, and using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.

Last night’s operation was the eleventh time Checkpoint has been run. It was co-ordinated by North Yorkshire Police, the NPCC’s lead for Rural Crime.

The operation saw 229 vehicles stopped for checks across the Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Northumbria areas. 61 vehicle and person searches were carried out, resulting in a number of vehicle seizures, fixed penalty notices and arrests.

Superintendent John Lyons said: “In Cleveland we worked together with neighbouring forces as well as with HM Revenue and Customs, the Special Constabulary, the Dog Support Unit, Road Policing Unit, neighbourhood teams, the Angling Trust, and ‘Volunteer Bailiffs’ to ensure Operation Checkpoint was a success.

“In total there were two arrests, two vehicles seized and over 20 vehicles stopped in the Cleveland area and numerous farm visits were conducted to build closer relationships with all of our local community.

“Working together as a team for Operation Checkpoint is a great way to tackle rural crime to reassure local communities that we are working together to keep our areas safe by clamping down on criminals."


Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “I’ve always been very supportive of Operation Checkpoint as Cleveland contains large rural areas and it is important that we continue to clamp down on travelling criminals by working together with other forces to ensure our communities and rural properties are safe.”