A crackdown on rural crime in the north-west of England has been hailed a success after thousands of pounds of stolen property was recovered by police officers.

Lancashire Police seized almost £16,000 of property and made 16 arrests for theft and poaching in the week-long drive, from 1 to 7 October.

Officers involved in the initiative, codenamed Operation Firecrest, stopped and checked 688 vehicles. They also visited more than 55 rural crime suspects and searched 22 scrap yards.

Lancashire Police assistant chief constable Mark Bates said: “The initial results from Operation Firecrest are encouraging, both in terms of targeting offenders and providing reassurance to local rural communities.

“We made numerous arrests and seized a variety of vehicles, so enquiries are still ongoing, but I am confident the operation has sent a clear message to people involved in rural crime that both police and communities will not tolerate this type of behaviour.”

During the week more than 160 farms and other rural properties received crime prevention visits to help ensure that the fight against rural crime continues long after the week of targeted action, Mr Bates said.

“I am tremendously encouraged by the support we’ve received from rural communities throughout the operation. They have readily taken on board crime prevention advice and seem very keen to join to local rural watch and farm watch schemes in a bid to help us combat crime in future.”

Mr Bates added: “We are not complacent. This is an ongoing operation and our work to target and identify those involved in rural crime and bring them to justice will continue.”


Watch a Lancashire Police video on crime prevention (above).

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For more on rural crime visit the Farmers Weekly Crime Register

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