Dozens of vehicles stopped amid rural crime crackdown

A shadowy figure in the grass
A Durham University report found there were 22 serious organised gangs active in the countryside [Getty images ]

Almost 50 vehicles were stopped and searched as part of a night-time operation targeting crime in the countryside.

Cumbria Police teams were joined by rural volunteers during Operation Checkpoint on Monday.

It focused on the eastern side of the county, with 47 vehicles stopped and three reported for traffic offences.

Insp Alex Johnson said: "We continue to show contempt for all types of rural crime and those criminals intent on committing it."

A recent report by the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) warned police forces that cover large rural areas are "in crisis" and need more funding to fight back against organised gangs.

The CLA’s findings come after a Durham University report earlier this year found there were 22 serious organised criminal gangs active in the countryside.

Insp Johnson said he hoped the operation provided "reassurance to our communities".

"We continue to need the support of our rural communities, by being vigilant and report any crimes and any suspicious activity so we can direct our resources accordingly,” he added.

As part of the operation, officers also chatted to more than 20 members of the public and gave them advice around security and crime prevention.

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