Police call on rural residents to be on their guard as dark nights draw in

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Police have appealed for rural residents in north Northumberland to be on their guard against travelling criminals.

It follows reports of suspected travelling criminals targeted quad bikes and farm machinery in the area.

Officers are also aware that the darker autumn evenings could provide more opportunity for poachers, while the recent fuel crisis could lead to an increase in fuel thefts.

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Sgt Duncan Budge told a meeting of Wooler Parish Council: “We believe we’ve potentially had some travelling criminals in the area targeting quad bikes and farm machinery which the rural crime team are investigating.

The view towards Wooler and the Cheviots.The view towards Wooler and the Cheviots.
The view towards Wooler and the Cheviots.

"There are operations which I can’t say too much about but I can assure you that there are things being done behind the scenes in relation to intelligence-led information on people coming into the area.”

Insp John Swan, neighbourhood policing inspector, also revealed that training had been given to ensure there is the correct control room response to reports of suspicious activity in rural areas.

He also acknowledged that speeding complaints had increased during the Covid lockdown.

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"We do have traffic (police) in the area for that reason and also have neighbourhood policing team and community support staff who are out there with handheld devices,” he said.

"And now that Covid restrictions have eased we’ll be looking at getting our community speedwatch volunteers out and about.

"I like to have cops out at different locations at different times so that motorists that would normally speed slow down because there might be someone there. Visibility is the only way you can stop speeding.”

He revealed there are 53 rural crime volunteers covering the rural north and west of the county.

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