Police cracking down on rural crime
Crime groups operating in isolated areas are being targeted by police.
Northumbria Police is working with Durham and Cleveland forces, and the North East Specialist Operations Unit, on Operation Sentinal to tackle serious and organised crime.
And officials have issued a warning to criminals who target the farming industry and rural properties for their agricultural machinery and all-terrain vehicles.
Superintendent Andy Huddleston said: “Nationally, we have seen a pattern emerge in how these sophisticated criminal groups operate.
“We know many offenders see this type of crime as low risk with a high gain, and there are often a number of factors to this.
“We are talking about high-value machinery, often stored in yards and buildings away from dwellings, where these groups feel they are less likely to be caught in the act.
“We see things differently – these crimes have a terrible impact on UK farming as they can ruin livelihoods.
“Anyone involved in organised and serious crime, we will pursue them and ultimately do everything in our power to bring them to justice. As a force, we are committed to tackling this kind of activity.”
Activity to combat offences includes regular checkpoint operations, which bring a range of agencies together on dedicated days of action, taking part in community meetings with rural partners, councils, the NFU, Foresty Commission and National Park, and the FarmWatch scheme.
Supt Huddleston also showed his support last year for the launch of the NFU’s Rural Crime Reporting Line. Run in partnership with the charity Crimestoppers, it provides a way for farmers and the public to give information anonymously about rural crime.
He added: “We can’t stamp out crime without the help of the public so we rely on you to report concerns or anything suspicious to us.”