A NEW police operation has been launched in Ripon following a spate of anti-social behaviour and criminal incidents.

In the last few weeks there has been a spike in robberies, assaults on the public and on emergency workers in the town.

Police have also seized drugs and imitation guns and have responded to reports of groups of youths breaching Covid regulations by congregating in in the Market Square, the bus station, and Bondgate to name a few.

North Yorkshire Police have launched an operation targeting such criminality with increased patrols and Inspector Alex Langley said: “This operation is not a long-term solution and we are working in the background with key partners on longer term plans to safeguard those most vulnerable in Ripon and prevent the most harm from offenders.

“Whilst we cannot always inform the public of some of the positive results we see due to ongoing investigations and court processes, please rest assured this operation has already seen results.

“We have made a number of arrests, recovered Class A and B drugs, seized criminal property including cash and also a number of imitation firearms and other weapons.

“We have released some offenders on bail, some under investigation whilst enquiries continue and others have been charged and are within the criminal justice process awaiting court.

"As soon as we can release an update we will to keep you informed of the positive outcomes.

“Please continue to report matters via 101 and 999 if urgent.

"Or please use Crimetoppers to report matters anonymously in confidence and we can take the necessary actions.

“Whilst we appreciate the rising community tension has been caused by a small handful of offenders please be assured that we are still here and present in Ripon.

"We are actively patrolling, and we will take all action necessary to deter offenders, prevent crime and enforce where necessary.

“To those of you in the community that are following the lockdown rules, playing your part in our recovery from the pandemic and safeguarding each other we thank you for your effort and support at this critical time.”

Inspector Langley continued with a direct plea to the groups of young people believed to be responsible: “If you commit anti-social behaviour and mindless act of theft and criminal damage we will take every opportunity to investigate and prosecute you.

“As a young person you may not realise that throwing that stone or stealing some alcohol may result in a criminal record – and that a criminal record could prevent you accessing higher education and certain types of employment.

“Please stop and think about the consequences of your actions and how your decisions today could impact on your future.”