POLICE have praised the efforts of more than 120 volunteers who supported a targeted crackdown on rural crime.

Operation Checkpoint – which is the biggest rural policing operation of its kind in the country – saw more than 100 vehicles stopped and checked across North Yorkshire and the wider North-East region.

The high-visibility police presence was designed to reassure local residents and businesses, and deter criminals attempting to target rural communities.

Running from the evening of Tuesday last week into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the operation resulted in five arrests, mainly for traffic offences, and is one of several Checkpoint deployments taking place this year.

Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “The support and commitment from residents in rural areas continues to be absolutely superb.

"Our Mobile Rural Watch volunteers give up their own time to work alongside the police, and help protect their communities from harm.

The Northern Echo:

Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce

“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of these dedicated individuals – many of them have been helping their local police for many years, and they continue to make a huge contribution in the fight against rural crime.

“Once again, the high-visibility presence and intelligence-led patrols for Operation Checkpoint will have sent a strong message to criminals who use road networks to who target rural areas: their illegal activity will not be tolerated.

“Officers received several really positive comments about the effort we have been putting in to patrolling rural communities, and I can assure people that we will keep up the pressure, and continue to work extremely hard to keep those communities safe.”

Mobile Rural Watches continually operate across the North Yorkshire countryside, supporting the force’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Rural Taskforce.

Police say that the public provides a vital role in being 'the eyes and ears' in the fight against countryside crime.