ALMOST 40 local men - including one who had driven down in a camper van from Tyneside - have been snared as part of a police operation in Teesside.

The 39 offenders have been dealt with by police - and some sent on a course - following the six-month operation, with targeted patrols catching kerb-crawlers.

The operation began in January and was supported by officers from Cleveland Police’s Special Constabulary.

It focused on the areas of Newport in Middlesbrough and Parkfield in Stockton, with plain clothed officers catching eight men kerb crawling in just first five days alone.

Twenty-eight of the men received a conditional caution and have been referred onto a one day course to address their behaviour. The rest have been summonsed to court or are still to be dealt with by police.

And although the majority of the men were local, one had even travelled in a camper van from Tyneside.

Licensing Unit Sergeant Paul Higgins said the focus of the operation was to tackle the antisocial behaviour caused by street prostitution and to target the men who exploit the vulnerable situation many street sex workers find themselves in.

He warned anyone thinking of coming to the area for this purpose that police will be watching and that they will take action: “We carry out patrols all year round with the focus on identifying men who travel into the Cleveland Force area to exploit the situation many street sex workers find themselves in; this is often caused by addiction and mental health problems,” he said.

“This has a further negative impact on all of the people who live and work in these areas therefore we will continue to address the issue of kerb crawling. We will also continue to engage with the women involved and offer them help, advice and direction to support and outreach services.”