Police on foot and in vehicles visited more than 40 farms during an operation to fight rural crime.

The overnight operation took place last week in the Redcar and Cleveland area.

A police spokesperson said the patrols aim "to offer reassurance to farmers and residents, especially those who live near identified anti-social behaviour hotspot areas".

Darlington and Stockton Times: Cleveland Police during the force's latest rural crime operation

Over the course of the night, mobile patrols stopped 16 vehicles of interest; one driver was reported for summons and his vehicle was seized for no insurance, another was issued with a fixed penalty notice for contravening double white lines, two drivers received vehicle defect rectification notices for faults and they were reported for summons, and two vehicles made off from police within the east Cleveland area.

Enquiries are continuing.

The operation also prioritised areas affected by poaching and nuisance motorbikes and quad bikes; several of these vehicles made off from police in the Guisborough and Eston areas.

Three males caught hare coursing on private farmland were detained by officers with the help of a police drone operator. They were issued with Community Protection Warning letters and one of them also received a warning for possession of cannabis.

Another man also received a Community Protection Warning letter regarding an earlier hare coursing incident.

Cleveland Police’s force lead for rural crime, Chief Inspector Jon Hagen said: “This was another very successful night’s activity which allowed us to provide reassurance, gather intelligence and take action against those intent on causing crime or ASB in rural areas.

“I hope last week’s campaign and our ongoing work under Operation Checkpoint helps everyone who lives and works rurally feel they have a voice, that police are listening to their concerns and, more importantly, taking action.”

Chief Inspector Hagen reminded residents they can report rural crime and ASB online via the Cleveland Police website, by calling 101 or via the COPA app. Always use 999 in an ongoing emergency.

Information can also be submitted anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by phoning them on 0800 555 111.