Police operation targets travelling criminals

A joint police operation was held to target travelling crminals.
A joint police operation was held to target travelling crminals.

A joint police operation was held yesterday to target travelling criminals across the North.

Officers from Northumbria, Durham, Cleveland, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire forces took part in Operation Checkpoint to gather intelligence about travelling criminals, disrupt their use of the road network and bring anyone found breaking the law to justice.

A total of 194 vehicles were stopped, seven people arrested, seven vehicles seized and 22 motorists dealt with for a variety of offences. In the Northumbria force area, 40 vehicles were stopped, there was one arrest for drink-driving and six road traffic offences were dealt with by officers and partner agencies at the roadside.

The operation, the ninth of its kind over the past two years, was staged from yesterday afternoon into the early hours of today with the various forces adapting the start and finish times to suit local needs.

In most areas, police enlisted support from Farmwatch volunteers and other volunteers from local communities who joined officers in looking out for suspicious vehicles. The DVLA and Customs and Excise officers were also involved.

Police tactics included the widespread use of automatic number plate recognition technology to target vehicles suspected of being connected to crime, as well as targeting vehicles seen in suspicious circumstances.

Northumbria Police Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Oates said: "The people we target in these operations are active across the north of England and the Borders, using a wide range of vehicles to transport stolen property and carry out other offences.

"Officers regularly carry out these joint operations aimed at preventing criminals from travelling into our area to commit offences. We work closely with other forces to share intelligence and arrest suspected offenders.

"These operations send a clear message to criminals that they are not welcome in our rural areas and we will do all we can to stop their criminal behaviour."