Op Lantern: Arrests and high-value vehicles recovered in rural crime clampdown

Offenders travelling to Cumbria to target rural communities are regularly being arrested and high-value property recovered as part of Cumbria Constabulary’s Operation Lantern.

Operation Lantern provides a co-ordinated response to thefts from farms in the county, including enhanced response to localised rural crime and support for those affected rural communities.

The operation is co-ordinated by experienced officers and staff who have worked in various areas of rural crime, with many living within rural or farming communities.

Their work incudes close working relationships with bordering forces to allow for shared intelligence and partnership work to target those who seek to commit cross-border crime.

In recent weeks, Op Lantern has seen a number of successful operations to recover stolen property and arrest offenders:

  • On 5 April a Gator All-Terrain vehicle was stolen in the Shap area. The ATV was recovered in nearby Reagill and Cumbria Constabulary worked with colleagues from West Yorkshire police to affect an arrest of a suspect – a 26-year-old man from the Bradford area. He has since been released on police bail whilst officers continue with their investigation.
  • On 12 April it was reported that two Gator All-Terrain vehicles were stolen from Staveley and Helsington overnight. Both ATVs were successfully recovered and one man was arrested in connection with the thefts. He remains in police custody today.
  • On 22 March two quad bikes were stolen from a property in Sowerby Row. Officers have recovered the van believed to have been involved in the theft and have recovered one of the quad bikes. Investigations are continuing to identify those responsible.
  • On 9 April officers travelling on the A66 east of Brough on Sunday evening (9 April) arrested two men on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle. The officers were in the area at around 7.30pm when they saw a suspicious vehicle – a white pickup truck with three quad bikes in the back. Both occupants of the truck – two men from the Leeds area – were then arrested on suspicion of theft of one of the quads, committed in the North Yorkshire Police area. Work is ongoing to ascertain the provenance of the two remaining quad-bikes.


Cumbria Constabulary’s Rural Crime Lead, Chief Inspector Lee Skelton said: “Our officers are busy every day and night working to prevent rural crime and arrest those who seek to carry it out.

“Thefts such as those we have seen in recent weeks can have a devastating impact, not just through the loss of a high value vehicle but also the loss of vehicles which are vital in assisting farmers in their everyday working lives.

“The recovery of vehicles and arrests made sends out a clear message that Cumbria Constabulary is not a soft touch and that we are committed to making the county the most hostile environment possible for offenders targeting rural communities and businesses.

“I continue to urge people to take their own steps to make their property as difficult as possible to target whilst calling on people living in rural communities to report any suspicious activity so that my officers can respond and take action.”

Safety advice for farming and rural industries includes:

  • Use smart water and trackers on vehicles
  • Mark all tools
  • Use heavy duty padlocks on gates and doors
  • Photograph all equipment
  • Mark and tag livestock
  • Consider installing a visible burglar alarm, individual alarms and CCTV and security lighting
  • Put tools and equipment out of sight and securely away with keys removed

If you are a farmer or rural business owner and would like a specialist rural crime prevention and target hardening officer, to carry out an assessment at your premises, please contact https://www.cumbria.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us

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