Four police forces execute biggest Farmwatch operation yet - covering 3,300 square miles (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Four police forces execute biggest Farmwatch operation yet - covering 3,300 square miles
A RURAL police operation involving 108 officers from four of the region’s forces and 172 volunteers has been hailed a success.
Durham Police teamed up with community volunteers and police forces from Northumbria, North Yorkshire and Cumbria to execute their biggest Farmwatch operation to date, covering about 3,300sq miles.
The Durham force covered Weardale, Teesdale, Crook, Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Consett; Northumbria Police covered from the Scottish Borders to North Tyneside and west as far as Hexham; North Yorkshire Police deployed their Dales watch to cover Richmondshire and Arkengarthdale; and Cumbria Police had officers covering the Alston, Appleby and Penrith areas.
More than 70 vehicles and more than 50 people were stopped and checked during the operation, which took place simultaneously in all four force areas on Wednesday evening and the early hours of Thursday.
One motorist in Darlington was stopped for having no insurance and 94 cannabis plants were seized from a property in Bishop Auckland.
Sergeant Chris Knox, from the Barnard Castle policing team, said: “The operation demonstrated to communities that the police and volunteers are not prepared for rural areas to be easy targets.
“Further operations are planned and many of our volunteers work closely with us on a daily basis passing information on about suspicious vehicles and people.”
Meanwhile, the Northumbria force stopped 20 vehicles and one man was reported for fishing offences.
About 100 farms were visited and checked throughout the night.
Sgt Knox said: “Farmwatch is going from strength to strength. It’s an excellent example of working in partnership with our colleagues and represents a huge commitment on the part of our community volunteers.
“We now have the capability to share communications channels, which meant we could share information on a regional basis.
“Criminals don’t use borders and they will find that we don’t either.”
The Farmwatch scheme aims to tackle and reduce rural crime and encourages farmers and rural residents to help its success by reporting incidents and suspicious behaviour.