Vehicles seized in country's biggest rural policing operation

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A major operation involving six police forces saw a clampdown on criminals in rural areas across the north of England this week.

Dozens of officers from North Yorkshire, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire and Northumbria, took part in Operation Checkpoint on Tuesday, May 17.

Checkpoint aims to gather intelligence about travelling criminals, disrupt their use of the road network and bring anyone found breaking the law to justice. The latest operation is the tenth of its kind since January 2014.

Intelligence shows that organised crime groups from across the north of England are involved in thefts, burglaries, and handling stolen property, targeting rural areas in particular. These criminals use their extensive knowledge of the road networks across the region in an attempt to avoid detection.

The operation took place between 3pm and 3am and involved police using Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to target vehicles suspected of being linked to criminality, as well as checking vehicles in suspicious circumstances and focusing on key locations. Volunteer members of local Watch schemes provided valuable assistance, acting as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the police.

Across the region, more than 10 vehicles were seized, for offences such as no insurance, failing to stop for police and no tax. Officers also dealt with offences of cannabis possession and drink driving.

In North Yorkshire, three vehicles were seized for having no insurance, and four seized for having no tax - and following a report of suspicious activity near Hutton Rudby, officers seized a car for no tax, and issued a cannabis warning to a passenger.

North Yorkshire Police’s Acting Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver said: “Operation Checkpoint sends a clear message to criminals using road networks to target our rural communities that their illegal activity will not be tolerated.

"By joining forces with our colleagues in neighbouring police areas, we continue to build on our excellent working relationships to clamp down on criminals – wherever they are from and wherever they are going. We are also extremely grateful for the support of our volunteer Watch schemes, who provide invaluable support in the fight against rural crime.

"Checkpoint has now marked its tenth operation, and I look forward to many more such initiatives in the future. We will continue to make life difficult for criminals and work together to protect our rural communities."

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