POLICE officers from five forces across the region and 150 volunteers teamed up for a rural crime prevention operation.

Durham Constabulary and officers from Northumbria, North Yorkshire, Cleveland and Cumbria Police joined forces for the second major FarmWatch operation of the year, covering a large part of the North-East and North-West.

Nearly 150 volunteers also took part, supported by more than 100 police officers and PCSOs, countryside rangers and members of the fire service.

Loading article content

Numerous vehicles were stopped and checked during the operation and one person was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving in the North Yorkshire Dales.

Sergeant Simon Rogers, from Durham Police, said the initiative had attracted one of the biggest turnouts of volunteers for some time.

He said: “One of the main reasons that these operations are so successful in keeping crime down is due to the number of volunteers that give up their own time and come out to assist with the operations.

“The coverage that the volunteers give all the forces involved is an invaluable asset to the police officers working on the operation.

“I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those volunteers that help on the operations and for their continued support throughout the year.

“Currently, across Teesdale and Weardale we have less reported rural crime than we did this time last year.”

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, from Leyburn Police, added: “Hambleton and Richmondshire’s numerous watch patrols regularly offer fantastic support to our police teams.

“I would once again like to express my personal thanks for the outstanding contribution they make to help keep crime low in our area.

“Let’s not forget that these are volunteers with their own home and work commitments, so the patrols they do in their own time keeping their community safe into the early hours is absolutely commendable.”

The Farmwatch scheme, which aims to tackle rural crime, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and is looking to expand its Watch teams.

Anyone interested in joining should call their local police force, on 101.