POLICE and more than 40 volunteers took part in an anti-poaching and theft operation to mark the start of Rural Crime Week.

Officers, staff and volunteers joined Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness to demonstrate their collective commitment to tackling rural issues impacting communities.

The Operation Checkpoint rural crime scheme’s latest operation saw a total of 40 vehicles being stopped and checked.

Neighbourhood Inspector Pam Bridges, from Northumbria Police, said: “Operation Checkpoint is a fantastic display of partnership working at its best.

“The operation saw officers, staff and volunteers out in force across Northumbria. It sends out a clear message to potential offenders that this activity will not be tolerated.”

Superintendent Helen Anderson, of Northumbria Police’s Northern Area Command, praised the coordinated effort.

She said: “It is important that we not only continue to protect people from rural crime, but also increase confidence in those communities who feel vulnerable to such offences that action is being taken.

“It is also important to stress that our work does not start and stop there.

“We have carried out numerous initiatives and positive police action to tackle rural criminality and will continue to do long after this week is over.

Miss McGuinness added: “I’m going to be taking the opportunity to speak with local people, businesses and groups and will listen carefully to their concerns.

“Tackling rural crime is very much a joint effort and it’s important we continue to strengthen our relationships with partner to ensure we are tackling rural crime head-on.”