EXTRA officers are patrolling key retails areas around Stockton as police continue to keep criminals on their toes during the festive period.

Codenamed Operation Humbug, officers from neighbourhood policing teams and the Special Constabulary will be visible on pedal cycles and on foot.

They will also receive support from the Force Mounted Section, Stockton Borough Council Enforcement Officers, Antisocial Behaviour Team staff and CCTV.

Inspector Mick Jackson said: “This operation means that we will be one step ahead of criminals this Christmas in Stockton.

"With shoppers and retailers busier than ever at this time of year it is important that they feel reassured that agencies are working together to prevent and disrupt crime and bring people to justice.

“My message to Christmas criminals is to think twice before committing crime in the Stockton area because we will bring you to justice.”

The operation covers retail areas in Thornaby, Billingham, Yarm, Stockton town centre, Portrack Industrial Estate and Teesside Retail Park and runs through until the middle of January.