Men charged in connection with £41,000 rural-crime spree

Latest from Northumbria Police.
Latest from Northumbria Police.

Two men have been charged following a police investigation into a spate of rural crimes, in which around £41,000-worth of agricultural equipment was stolen from parts of Northumberland.

Jamie Armstrong Cliff, 21, of Front Street, Durham, and Michael McMeekin, 22, of David Terrace, Bishop Auckland, were jointly charged last week with nine counts of conspiracy to commit thefts.

They were arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into nine separate offences that happened in the Hexham and Kielder areas, between December 2014 and February this year. Around £41,000-worth of vehicles, quad bikes and tools were stolen in the burglaries.

A police spokeswoman said that the pair are due to appear at magistrates' court at sometime over the next couple of weeks.

Chief Inspector Stephen Readdie, of Northern Area Command said: "Keeping our rural communities safe is a priority for us. Criminals may see rural areas as easy targets and I want to assure them they are anything but. We work with local residents, farmers, landowners and our neighbouring rural forces to stop rural crime and I can reassure the public that this work will continue. We're committed to ensuring our rural areas remain a safe place to live and we continue to target suspected criminals to tackle those causing the most harm to our communities."

The charges come during Northumbria Police's Beat The Burglar campaign, aimed at tackling opportunist thieves and burglars across the force and promoting crime prevention advice.