COMMUNITY volunteers have been praised by police after a tip-off about a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of three suspected burglars.

The members of Daleswatch – a neighbourhood watch-style organisation which operates in the Richmondshire area – noticed an abandoned van with its lights on and windows open and contacted police.

The volunteers spotted the blue van at around 8pm on Sunday, December 9 in a lay-by near Askrigg. It was parked next to a bus and was seriously damaged apparently from a crash.

The van was recovered by local police officers who found several boxes of plumbing materials inside – and it was later discovered that a plumber’s store in a nearby village had been broken into.

A flatbed truck was later seen in the area of the lay-by by the driver of the bus, who had returned to check on the vehicle.

The driver called police when it left the scene at high speed, and he followed the truck onto the A684 until it went out of sight.

The truck was then spotted by police near Skipton, who stopped it and arrested the three men inside.

Superintendent Andy McMillan, safer neighbourhood commander for Hambleton and Richmondshire, praised the actions of Daleswatch and the member of the public for their quick actions.

He said: “The outcome of this incident demonstrates the vital contribution from volunteer watch schemes and how information from members of the public can help us prevent and detect crime.

“I’d like to pass on my thanks to Daleswatch and local residents for their outstanding actions.

“We actively encourage people to report suspicious individuals, vehicles or activity to the police. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant you may think the information is, if it doesn’t look right it is best to trust your gut instinct and contact the police.

“As demonstrated on this occasion, you can play your part to prevent a crime or help us arrest suspects. This is what safer neighbourhood policing is all about.”

For more information about Daleswatch contact Leyburn or Northallerton safer neighbourhood team on 101, or email or