Rural crime taskforce recover more than £1 million of stolen farming vehicles & equipment as part of continued crackdown
23 Nov | 13:46

Our dedicated Rural Policing Team are tasked with preventing and tackling rural acquisitive crime, wildlife and poaching offences.

A specialist rural crime taskforce has recovered more than £1 million of stolen farming vehicles and equipment as part of a continued crackdown.

Northumbria Police’s Rural Policing Team was set up in June 2020 with dedicated officers tasked with preventing and tackling rural acquisitive crime, wildlife and poaching offences.

Working under the banner of Operation Hawkeye, the team has had an immediate impact – working alongside partners and volunteers to help protect those living in the most remote areas of Northumbria.

That work has seen officers successfully track down a range of stolen items including farming vehicles and machinery, and reunite them with their rightful owners.

One of the team’s most recent seizures, a number of stolen motor vehicles that were located in Newcastle, took their tally to over £1 million of stolen goods recovered.

Sergeant Calum Meikle, of Northumbria Police, said: “Tackling rural crime is a priority for the Force and the whole team deserve a huge amount of credit.

“They are deeply passionate about protecting our most remote communities and this milestone highlights the difference they are continuing to make.

“We run dedicated operations all year round to hit criminals hard and make our rural communities feel safe – and that work will continue over the coming months.

“Tackling this type of crime is a real team effort and we are indebted to the fantastic work of our partners and volunteers who support us at every opportunity.

“We are one of the only Forces in the country to have Rural Crime Volunteers and their contribution is invaluable. Most of them live rurally, they are experts at spotting things that don’t look right – and their selfless sacrifice helps us get to where we need to be within minutes.

“I would like to thank everyone who continues to play their part in ensuring our rural communities are protected and helping to bring swift justice against offenders.”

Over the coming weeks, the team will be continuing to tackle cross-border criminals who prey on rural communities as part of Operation Checkpoint.

The biggest rural policing operation of its kind in the UK, Operation Checkpoint sees police, partners and volunteers join forces to target travelling criminals who commit offences across the North of England and Scotland.

Sgt Meikle added: “We have had some fantastic results as part of Operation Checkpoint in recent months .

“Our message to criminals thinking of targeting our rural communities is a simple one – you will be seen, you will be caught and you will be brought to justice.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, also praised the team’s work.

She said: “Northumbria Police is known for rolling out some of the best rural policing operations in the country, and these latest very impressive results show yet more success for the team and the volunteers who help.

“There’s certainly a lot of effort that goes into tackling rural crime – making people feel safer and making sure those responsible are put before the courts.

“My thanks go to everyone who helps ensure rural policing never gets overlooked in our area – the more isolated,  more remote communities will continue to be a top priority for me and the more partners and volunteers we have on board the better.”

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