Cumbria Police Rural Crime Team – Week 1: Arrests, charges and vehicles recovered

A week of action targeting rural crime has been a success with over 120 vehicles stopped in a week long proactive operation to disrupt criminality, and arrests made in vehicle stops across the county.

Last week (18 – 24 Sept) was National Rural Crime week of action and the launch of a dedicated Rural Crime Policing Team in Cumbria.

Across the week the rural crime team have been conducting targeted activity as well as visiting our rural communities and attending local auction marts to provide crime prevention advice. This has been supported by the wider constabulary which has seen vehicles stopped by our driver training team and response policing teams.

Monday 18 September
• The Rural Crime Team conducted searches for a quadbike in Crook
• Attended the quarterly North West regional wildlife enforcement and rural crime meeting. To discuss rural and wildlife priorities and identify initiatives to implement back in force.

Tuesday 19 September
• Visits to Wigton and Kirkby Stephen Auction Marts to provide crime prevention advice.
• Officers took part in Operation Checkpoint which saw 121 vehicles stopped leading to two vehicle seized, two fixed penalty notices issued to drivers and a man arrested and charged with driving offences.

Wednesday 20 September
• Officers conducted target hardening at a premises in Welton
• Visit to Ulverston agriculture and horticulture development board even with NFU

Thursday 21 September
• Officers from the Rural Crime Team, Eden Police and the Road Policing Unit were supported by Westmorland and Furness Council environmental enforcement team to target criminals using the road network to commit offences. Operation Magnetic focuses on unlicensed scrap metal collection linked to theft and fly tipping.
• Visit to Lazonby Mart to provide crime prevention advice.
• Our driver training team stopped a vehicle on the M6 with two men arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, and one also arrested for multiple driving offences. Stolen plant machinery was recovered.

Friday 22 September
• Officers conducted target hardening at a premises in Crook and a visit to J36 Auction mart with the local PCSO.

Saturday 23 September
• Three people were arrested in the early hours and charged with going equipped to steal after a vehicle was stopped in west Cumbria. One male appeared today at West Cumbria Magistrates having been remanded in custody.

Sunday 24 September
• The Rural Crime Team joined officers in Carlisle following reports of off-road motorbikes in these areas, accessing and causing damage to Kielder Forest.
• A man from out of force area was arrested and three suspected stolen vehicles including two quad bikes seized following a stop on the A66 near Penrith. He remains in police custody.

Chief Inspector Lee Skelton Rural Crime Lead said “It has been a pleasure to launch Cumbria’s dedicated Rural Crime Team to coincide with National Rural Crime Week. It has also been really pleasing to see all departments come together to make Cumbria the most hostile environment for rural acquisitive criminals.

“We stopped a number of vehicles during the week of activities with successful vehicle stops leading to arrests and ongoing investigations.

“We also don’t apologise for stopping legitimate owners of farm machinery and vehicles to conduct checks and have had feedback from those pleased to have been stopped.

“I hope this action is reassuring our communities that we are listening to them, and action is being taken. We will continue to show contempt for all types of rural crime and those criminals intent on committing it.

“However, we continue to need the support of our rural communities, this area is under reported and we encourage our communities to be vigilant and report any crimes and any suspicious activity to we can direct our resources accordingly.

“Please follow our Rural Crime Team on Facebook and if you are interested in becoming a rural crime volunteer or a member of our expanding Rural Crime Watch Groups then please drop us a message”.

Operation Lantern is the constabulary’s dedicated operation to target rural crime within Cumbria. The operation aims to prevent and disrupt serious and organised rural acquisitive crime that occurs in our county.

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