A NATIONAL police operation to target foreign gangs on the country’s roads was launched in North Yorkshire today (Monday, March 24).

Officers from Romania, Lithuania and Poland have travelled to the UK to help police target foreign criminals on English roads as part of Operation Trivium II.

Such gangs are thought to be involved in shoplifting, fraud, metal theft and theft from vehicles, such as catalytic converters. The criminals use roads to move around the country and are not linked to any individual or established communities.

North Yorkshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy said catching those who travel to the county to commit crime was a top priority for the force.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with colleagues across the UK and Europe in a combined effort to target foreign criminals who take advantage of our road network to commit crime," he said.

“Travelling criminals are a top target for North Yorkshire Police and this nationwide operation will support and enhance our ongoing operations to deprive criminals of the use of our roads and protect our communities from the impact of these crimes.”

The operation runs from March 24 to March 28, when police will be stopping vehicles of interest and using officers who have travelled from Romania, Lithuania and Poland to carry out roadside checks to establish if the occupants are wanted by police in their home countries.

Foreign police officers will also be based at a central call centre to allow frontline officers to contact them and carry out almost instant checks on drivers and passengers.