TWO suspected burglars accused of threatening their victim with a screwdriver during a raid at a remote farm were arrested within 12 minutes.

Officers received a report of two suspects fleeing the scene of a burglary in the Witton Gilbert area near Durham just after 8.46am on Tuesday.

One of the men was reported to have threatened their victim with a screwdriver before making off across farmland.

At 8.58am - just 12 minutes later - two suspects had been detained.

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A man in his 40s from Beamish and a man in his 30s from Gateshead were both arrested and each charged with two counts of burglary and two counts of theft from a motor vehicle.

They were remanded into custody to appear at Durham Crown Court on December 23.

Inspector Dave Clarke, of Durham City Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Our officers’ response to this report was quick, efficient, and has ultimately resulted in a number of charges being brought against the offenders.

“It is a clear demonstration that we take rural crime very seriously and will take firm action against those who commit such offences.”

The arrests coincide with Operation Checkpoint, a multi-force operation targeting rural crime which took place on Wednesday night.

Consett Neighbourhood Policing Team stopped one vehicle containing four men as well as dogs, rabbits and lamping equipment after they were tracked by Cleveland Police into County Durham.

Another three men with links to rural crime and drugs were stopped after Rural Watch volunteers reported their vehicle acting suspiciously in Wolsingham Market Place.

The driver reported for having no licence and the vehicle was also seized under Op Takeaway.

Inspector Ed Turner, who led the operation, said: “Operation Checkpoint is just one of the tactics we use to catch criminals who think they can target our rural communities.

“It is always great to see our communities and officers coming together – particularly through the Rural Watch scheme – to send out the clear message that we will not tolerate rural crime.”

Rural Watch comprises of representatives from Farm Watch, Neighbourhood Watch, WhatsApp alliances and community-spirited individuals in the area which is co-ordinated by a Board of Rural Watch Trustees.

People who live, work or visit rural communities, can help by joining a network of people who are dedicated to making communities safer to live and work in. To become a member of the scheme email chairman Clement O'Donovan at or PCSO Liz Finn at Elizabeth. with the following information: name address contact telephone details email address

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