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Posted on Tuesday 27 April 2021
rural crime week original

Volunteers came out in force across the Dales last night for the latest Operation Checkpoint.

The multi-force operation targets travelling criminals operating between counties in the North of England and Scotland.

It has been identified that members of organised crime groups continue to operate between force areas committing acquisitive crime, potentially countrywide and predominantly in rural areas.

Intelligence shows that a large number of criminal associates from across the North of England are involved in thefts, burglaries, handling and disposal of stolen property from rural areas.

A wide range of vehicles are used to transport stolen property including hire vans and ‘pool’ cars that criminals use across our road network to lessen the chance of detection.

Operation Checkpoint clamps down on these criminal behaviours and last night police officers, PCSOs, special constables and Ruralwatch volunteers came together to act as one unit.

Based at strategic locations and using the latest communication technology, officers and volunteers carried out patrols across Teesdale and Weardale.

Several vehicles were stopped throughout the night and checks made.

A 47-year-old man from Darlington was stopped in Gainford and blew well over the limit when breathalised.

He was taken to Darlington custody and charged with one count of drink driving before being released on bail ahead of a court hearing.

Sergeant Angela Drasdo, who led the operation, said: “As always the Ruralwatch volunteers and policing team came together to hold another productive operation.

“We will always do everything we can to target those who carry out crimes in our rural communities and I want to thank everyone who took part.”

If you would like to become a Ruralwatch volunteer, email PCSO Liz Finn at Barnard Castle at or Tri Service Community Safety Responder, Jamie Clarkson, at Stanhope, at  

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