NORTH Yorkshire Police said they have sent out a strong message to travelling criminals after making seven arrests during the latest phase of a rural crime crackdown.

Officers with Operation Hawk were targeting criminals who come into North Yorkshire specifically to commit crime. Using intelligence built up over a number of months, officers patrol the county’s road network looking for suspect people and vehicles.

On Thursday (February 13) officers arrested one man near York on suspicion of possessing cannabis and cocaine following a search of his car.

Three men from Goole were arrested on suspicion of diesel theft after officers found a diesel container and siphoning equipment in the back of their car.

Ten minutes later three more men were pulled over and a search of their car revealed drugs believed to be cannabis and crack cocaine.

Men, aged 18, 19 and 20 were arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A and Class B drugs with intent to supply and remain in police custody for questioning.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, of North Yorkshire Police, said so far Operation Hawk had resulted in more than 150 arrests.

“Not only are we making arrests but we are building up a real picture of the activities of criminals who are coming into North Yorkshire or using the county’s roads to commit crime, which is helping us to target offenders more effectively," he said.

“The regular days of action have proved to be a great success and I hope that they are sending out a message to travelling criminals that if they come to North Yorkshire to commit crime, we will be waiting for them.”