Police hit the road to target criminals

A region-wide police operation tackling travelling criminals saw more than 30 vehicles stopped in Northumberland.

Operation Checkpoint involved six forces, farmers and local volunteers across the north of England and southern Scotland taking action last week.

Officers in the Northumbria force stopped 34 vehicles, resulting in two being uplifted, one for no insurance and the other after it was suspected of being involved in a crime.

They also seized a suspected stolen chainsaw and made an arrest on suspicion of taking a motor vehicle without consent. The driver has been bailed pending further enquiries.

The operation, which involved officers from North Yorkshire, Durham, Cleveland and Cumbria, resulted in 189 vehicles being stopped and checked in total.

It was the fifth of its kind since January last year and was designed to gather intelligence about travelling criminals, disrupt their use of the road network and bring anyone found breaking the law to justice.

West Tynedale Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Oates said: “Protecting our rural communities is a priority for Northumbria Police and we work with local farmers, residents, landowners and neighbouring forces to prevent rural crime and target those suspected of being involved.

“Local people are our eyes and ears on the ground. We rely on local information to let us know what’s going on. We also share that with our partners to ensure we are tackling the people and issues of most concern.

“I’d urge anyone who sees any suspicious vehicles or people in rural Northumberland to report it to us straight away and we will investigate. Most thieves will have some sort of cover story about why they are where they are. The message is, if someone looks out of place and up to no good, they probably are, so call it in.

“Working together we will continue to make sure Northumberland remains a safe place to live and work.”