Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria among areas covered in police crackdown on rural criminals

Cross-border criminals who prey on rural communities were sent a resounding message by police forces as part of a continued crackdown.

By Andrew Coulson
Monday, 4th July 2022, 2:32 pm
Vehicles were pulled over by Northumbria Police officers in Northumberland during Operation Checkpoint.
Vehicles were pulled over by Northumbria Police officers in Northumberland during Operation Checkpoint.

Northumbria Police ran the latest Operation Checkpoint initiative last Thursday (June 30) in partnership with officers from Durham Constabulary, Cleveland Police and Cumbria Constabulary.

Ran simultaneously across the region, Northumbria’s crime-fighting contingent included neighbourhood officers from Alnwick and Hexham, Operation Dragoon, Special Constables and the Environment Agency.

They were once again assisted by the force’s Rural Crime Volunteers – a team of selfless rural residents who closely monitor the areas they know most, and feed directly into front-line officers if they see anything that rouses suspicion.

Operation Checkpoint sees police, partners and volunteers join forces to target travelling criminals across the north of England and Scotland, covering acquisitive crime and wildlife and poaching offences among others, with groups often travelling substantial distances between counties in a bid to evade arrest.

Superintendent Andy Huddleston, Northumbria Police lead for rural crime, said: “We know that Operation Checkpoint gets results – and that’s down to the fantastic teamwork between all the forces, officers, volunteers and partners putting such time and energy into making it a success.

“That proved the case once again last Thursday, with nearly 100 suspicious vehicles stopped and checked across the rural areas of Northumbria, Durham, Cleveland and Cumbria.

“In Northumberland alone, 27 vehicles were stopped, with individuals identified and spoken to regarding suspected poaching offences in the Slaley area.

“Another vehicle was pulled over near Hexham after it was found to be towing three quad bikes, which attracted our attention. While roadside checks verified that all was in order with those particular quad bikes, this robust activity should send a strong message to anybody who travels to Northumbria intent on targeting our rural communities. It will not be tolerated – and you will be caught.

“We will continue to use every tactic at our disposal to tackle all rural crime in Northumbria and protect those who live in our more isolated communities.

“We are delighted with the impact of last Thursday’s operation and will be looking to maintain that momentum over the coming months.”