MORE than 100 officers and volunteers from seven police forces ran an operation to tackle rural crime.

The action overnight on Thursday and early Friday involved teams from Northumbria, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Humberside, Lancashire and North Yorkshire to provide reassurance to those in rural communities by combating criminals who operate between force areas.

Operation Checkpoint, first ran in January 2014, and remains the largest initiative of its kind in the country. Last night’s operation was the 22nd of its kind and involved shared intelligence and information and patrols across boundaries to target criminals, disrupting their use of rural road networks and bringing law-breakers to justice.

It saw 90 vehicles stopped and five seized, two men were reported for road traffic offences, four people were checked and seven intelligence reports submitted.

In Northumbria, volunteers joined Neighbourhood Officers, Motor Patrols and Special Constables for the operation which aimed to identify and target suspects involved in crimes such as thefts, burglaries, handling and disposing of stolen property from rural areas.

Tactics included high visibility, intelligence gathering, use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to locate vehicles suspected of being connected to crime, as well as targeting suspicious activity.

Officers and volunteers in Northumbria seized one vehicle and stop-checked 35 in total. Two people were issued with summons as well as a number of people who were given vehicle defect warnings.

Detective Constable Tim Mayland, from Northumbria Police, said: “By working with our neighbouring forces we are able to target offenders that are abusing the rural communities within their respective force areas.

“We continue to strengthen our relationships with those forces and partner agencies in order to best police issues at the heart of our communities.

“I would like to thank the volunteers that have assisted Northumbria Police in our operation to target Rural and wildlife crime in our force area last night. It is with their help that we can effectively carry out these types of proactive activity that demonstrates how tackling rural crime continues to be high on our agenda."

Report suspicious activity to the Rural Crime Reporting Line on 0800-7830137 or at or call 999 in an emergency.