Clampdown on Cross-Border Criminals Involved in Countryside Crime

It was all hands on deck this week, when over 200 police officers and volunteers took part in December’s major clampdown on rural crime.

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

Running from 3pm Wednesday 7th December till the early hours of Thursday 8th December, intelligence-led deployments were coordinated between the six forces, along with static vehicle checkpoints and visits to vulnerable premises.

Intelligence shows that organised crime groups from across the north of England are involved in thefts, burglaries, handling stolen property and targeting rural areas. 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.

The operation saw over 100 vehicles stopped for checks across the Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and Northumbria areas resulting in a number of vehicle seizures, fixed penalty notices and arrests. In total Cleveland Police had 4 arrests for the operation due to the directed patrols and intelligence received.

Superintendent John Lyons said: “Cleveland are the lead force on this occasion for this operation and as Silver command for the evening was pleased that we get to work together with neighbouring forces as well as with the Special Constabulary, the Dog Support Unit, Road Policing Unit, neighbourhood teams, the Angling Trust’s ‘Volunteer Bailiffs’ and ANPR to ensure Operation Checkpoint was a success, and 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: “This was another well-organised rural crime operation and I’d like to thank all the police officers and volunteers who worked together to make our rural area safer. 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.”

Cleveland Police’s Rural Crime Reduction Coordinator Paul Payne also said “I’d like to thank those volunteers who took part and support Rural Watch and the Tees Rural Crime Forum, which includes supporting Operation Checkpoint. We have made great strides in the past year through both these projects, and hope to move on to bigger things in 2017 with all your support. A large number of farms were also visited during the operation to let those we serve know that we are out there on their behalf”.

Photograph Caption: Cleveland Police officers and Volunteers taking part in Operation Checkpoint lead by Superintendent John Lyons.