VOLUNTEERS teamed up with crime fighters to carry out patrols as part of an operation targeting travelling criminals who operate between the North of England and Scotland.

Police have identified that members of organised crime groups continue to operate between force areas committing acquisitive crime, potentially countrywide and predominantly in rural areas.

Intelligence shows that a large number of criminal associates from across the North are involved in thefts, burglaries, handling and disposal of stolen property from rural areas.

A wide range of vehicles are used to transport stolen property including hire vans and ‘pool’ cars that criminals use across our road network to lessen the chance of detection.

The multi-force Operation Checkpoint clamps down on these criminal behaviours and on Monday night police officers, PCSOs, special constables and Ruralwatch volunteers carried out patrols across Weardale and Teesdale, based at strategic locations and using the latest communication technology.

Several vehicles were stopped and checks made.

A 47-year-old man, from Darlington, was stopped in Gainford and blew well over the limit when breathalised.

He was taken to Darlington custody and charged with one count of drink driving before being released on bail ahead of a court hearing.

Sergeant Angela Drasdo, who led the operation, said: “As always the Ruralwatch volunteers and policing team came together to hold another productive operation.

“We will always do everything we can to target those who carry out crimes in our rural communities and I want to thank everyone who took part.”

If you would like to become a Ruralwatch volunteer, email PCSO Liz Finn at Barnard Castle at Elizabeth.finn@durham.police.uk or Tri Service Community Safety Responder, Jamie Clarkson, at Stanhope, at Jamie.clarkson@durham.police.uk