A PAN-European police operation has been launched this week to tackle cross-border crime.

Throughout the week, police across Cleveland and Durham will be joining forces with officers from six countries as part of Operation Trivium.

Co-ordinated by TISPOL (The European Traffic Police Network), officers from the UK, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Romania will be stopping vehicles on European roads and checking drivers' details as they target criminal activity, including smuggling and human trafficking.

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Inspector Harry Simpson, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “It is important that we all work together across the UK and other countries in the fight against mobile criminality.

“Crime does not have borders and we are fully committed to bringing justice to anyone who thinks that they can commit offences in our area.

“This operation will make our roads a safer place and protect members of the public.”

A special European Operations Control Centre, based at Europol headquarters in The Hague, will be operating throughout the week, providing officers with real-time information on individuals and vehicles who may be connected with crime. Participating countries will all have their own control centres where information can be requested and shared.

Operation Trivium was introduced by TISPOL and has grown to provide a consistently effective mechanism for disrupting criminal networks who are active in human trafficking, modern day slavery, illegal immigration and a wide range of other crimes.