Police in North Yorkshire have arrested five men in connection with a spate of thefts in a rural community.

North Yorkshire Police said the force has carried out night-time patrols in the southern border of Ryedale.

These patrols have been in response to a recent spate of horse-riding equipment, horsebox, flatbed truck and trailer thefts in the area between Malton and York.

A force spokesperson explained how the patrols aim to “detect and deter” this criminal activity which is causing a “great deal of upset and anger” in the rural communities affected.

Detective Inspector Ryan Chapman, from the Scarborough and Ryedale Investigation Hub, said five men were arrested last week in connection with these incidents.

He said they have been released on conditional bail while enquiries continue.

“Our proactive patrols are continuing along the southern Ryedale border to relentlessly pursue such offenders, bring them to justice, and recover any horse-riding equipment, horseboxes, flatbed trucks and trailers that have been stolen,” DI Chapman said.

“We are deploying a range of specialist policing teams and tactics to tackle this issue, some of which are carried out during the hours of darkness when these incidents have typically been occurring.”

He added that patrols are stopping vehicles overnight and taking driver and passenger details.

DI Chapman warned: “If you are up to no good, you will be arrested there and then, and your vehicle will be seized.

“At the very least, we are building intelligence on the vehicles operating in the area which may prove to be crucial in the future.”

He said that at locations which have been targeted, officers are carrying out detailed forensic, CCTV and neighbourhood enquiries as part of the investigations.

“Policing teams are also visiting local horse-riding centres and stables in the area to offer crime prevention advice to help keep offenders at bay,” DI Chapman said.

He urged people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious vehicles or people via the North Yorkshire Police website or by calling 101.

“Always dial 999 for an emergency response if you believe a crime is taking place,” DI Chapman said.

“Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“Always trust your gut instinct; if something doesn’t look or feel right, it’s best to report it so we can check it out.”