COUNTRYSIDE crime is the focus of a week-long campaign to highlight the efforts being made to cut offending in rural areas.

The national Wildlife and Rural Crime Week of Action - which runs until Sunday - involves police staff working alongside partner groups such as the Environment Agency to identify and tackle crimes specific to rural areas.

It launched in the North on Sunday when hundreds of officers and volunteers took part in Operation Checkpoint, the largest operation of its kind in the country.

The region's forces shared intelligence and patrolled across force boundaries to target criminals and disrupt their use of rural roads.

The Northern Echo:

Police tactics included Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to locate vehicles suspected of being connected to crime, as well as targeting suspicious vehicles.

Sunday also saw North Yorkshire Police mark National Badger Day, with the publication of a newsletter and social media activity to raise awareness of badger persecution.

Inspector Jon Grainge, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “The NPCC’s (National Police Chiefs’ Council) Wildlife and Rural Crime Week of Action is a good opportunity to highlight the impact of rural crime on our communities, and the action that we are taking to tackle it.

“We know all too well the effect that crime can have on the livelihoods and wellbeing of rural residents, which is why it remains a top priority for us.

“Our activities this week are a reflection of the hard work of officers, staff and volunteers that goes on day-in, day-out across North Yorkshire.

"However, I hope the clear message and focus of this week of action will send out a clear message that criminals are not welcome in our rural communities.” There are several ongoing operations in North Yorkshire including Galileo which focuses on poaching and Dusk which tracks cross-border offenders.