CLEVELAND Police has led an operation involving five other forces across the North clamping down on travelling criminals

They were joined by officers from Durham, North Yorkshire, Northumbria, Lancashire and Cumbria were assigned to the 14th Operation Checkpoint.

Officers visited farms and remote areas from yesterday evening to 1am today (Friday, May 19) with the aim of catching travelling criminals, gathering intelligence and providing reassurance to those in rural communities.

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The forces already share intelligence on people suspected of travelling from county to county committing thefts and burglaries and passing on stolen goods. Rural wildlife offences are also an issue

In the Cleveland force area, 12 vehicles were stopped with 16 stop searches involving people and vehicles taking place. Six of these (four vehicles and two off road bikes) were seized.

Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who attended the pre-operation briefing, said: “Operation Checkpoint demonstrates our absolute commitment to ensuring people living in our rural communities feel safe and supported. I would like to thank each and every officer who took part in the operation.

“It was particularly gratifying to see so many special constables taking part in the operation, especially as some have only been with us for a few weeks.”

Supt Jason Dickson added: "County borders mean nothing to organised criminals who are intent on targeting our more remote communities.

"Last night saw a number of vehicles which could be involved in crime being taken out of circulation and our activity sends out a clear message to those tempted to travel to or through Cleveland for criminal purposes – we will not tolerate it and you will be dealt with."