A GROUP of volunteers have been recruited to help police crack down on rural crime.

Last week, a total of 20 Rural Crime Volunteers joined Northumbria Police to help the force and other partner agencies prevent and disrupt local and cross-border criminal activity occurring in remote parts of the countryside.

Each volunteer will support police operations, including Operation Checkpoint which was started specifically to tackle rural crime.

Supt Helen Anderson, from Northumbria Police, said: “We’re delighted to welcome these volunteers into our policing family.

“Each volunteer already has contacts within their own rural communities which will help with getting messages out and intelligence in. They will also help us to promote rural crime prevention messages for hard to reach audiences."

The volunteers have been praised by Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness who said they played a big role in helping with police activity.

She said: “It’s amazing to see so much dedication from these volunteers.

"They continue to support officers and staff in their work to tackle rural crime and they do it all on their own time and on occasion risking their own personal safety.

“It’s an honour to be able to present them with their badges and welcome them to Northumbria Police as official Rural Crime Volunteers.

"I wish them all the luck for their future operations and have no doubt they will continue to be an essential asset to the force."

The volunteers recruited come from a variety of different backgrounds, including gamekeepers, estate managers and farmers, and come from across the North-East and Cumbria.