Police join forces to target criminals on the road

Cross-border police operation
Cross-border police operation

A region-wide operation tackling travelling criminals saw more than 60 vehicles stopped in Northumberland.

Operation Checkpoint involved six forces, HM Revenue and Customs, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Council Licensing and local gamekeepers across the north of England.

Officers in Northumbria stopped 64 vehicles resulting in four stop and searches and six vehicles issued with prohibition notices for defects or load issues.

Operation Checkpoint is the largest rural policing operation of its kind in the country, and saw Northumbria, Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, Lancashire and North Yorkshire join forces to target cross-border criminals.

Running from 3pm yesterday to 3am today, (Thursday, October 6) the six forces co-ordinated intelligence-led deployments, static vehicle checkpoints and proactive visits to vulnerable premises.

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.

Checkpoint targets vehicles suspected of being linked to criminality by deploying officers and volunteers with expert knowledge of their local area, crime patterns, intelligence and road network, and using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.

Last night’s operation was the eleventh time Checkpoint has been run.

Chief Inspector Aidan Sloan said: “Protecting our rural communities is a priority for Northumbria Police and we work with local farmers, residents, landowners and neighbouring forces to prevent rural crime and target those suspected of being involved.

“Local people are our eyes and ears on the ground and we rely on local information to let us know what’s going on. We also share that with our partners to ensure we are tackling the people and issues of most concern.

“I’d urge anyone who sees any suspicious vehicles or people in rural Northumberland to report it to us straight away and we will investigate. The message is - if someone looks out of place and up to no good, they probably are - so call it in by ringing 101.

“Working together we will continue to make sure Northumberland remains a safe place to live and work, the work carried out by Operation Checkpoint will continue to help safeguard our rural communities.”