Four men arrested as Operation Target comes to Richmondshire

Four men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to burgle after suspicious activity was reported in Wensleydale on the day North Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable and dozens of other officers were patrolling in the district.

Operation Target, a week-long proactive policing operation that’s sweeping across North Yorkshire, arrived in Richmondshire yesterday.

The operation ran from 8am to midnight and saw officers from the Roads Policing Group, Road Crime Team, Rural Task Force, Firearms Support Unit, Neighbourhood Policing Teams and the Special Constabulary provide an extra boost to local policing teams to engage with local people, deter and target criminals, gather intelligence and provide a reassuring presence in local communities.

The aim of the operation is to identify and assist those who are vulnerable in our local communities and target and disrupt those who exploit them.

Chief Constable Dave Jones joined the teams who were on patrol last night.

For the first part of his shift, Chief Constable Jones accompanied PC Mark Wood, Wildlife Crime Officer and Rural Beat Manager on Border Watch patrols.

He met with local volunteers who give their time to work alongside police and proactively patrol and protect their rural communities.

The local knowledge of the Border Watch teams can prove invaluable and their patrols have led to a number of arrests.

These have included burglaries, stolen vehicles, fuel thefts, poaching offence, quad bike thefts and so on.

Chief Constable Jones also patrolled in Leyburn town centre with Sgt Richard Jamieson, ensuring a police presence was visible in the town centre and providing reassurance for local residents.

Speaking about Operation Target and Border Watch, Chief Constable Jones said: “The aim of Operation Target is to deliver an extra boost of coordinated resources to our local communities, to help strengthen their resolve against criminals who try to exploit any sign of vulnerability.

“Our Border Watch volunteers give the police the capability to greatly increase the coverage that local officers can offer to a rural area and are essential to the fight against rural crime.

“The volunteers local knowledge and the dedication they show to their community is crucial to the success of the scheme and they really are a great asset to rural policing.”

Throughout the day officers delivered leaflets door to door about North Yorkshire Community Messenger and encouraged local residents to sign up to the scheme.

Officers also conducted proactive stops on Land Rover Defenders to deter and disrupt  thefts of these vehicles.

At around 12.20pm police were alerted to a suspicious vehicle and its occupants in the Askrigg area.

Through a combination of ANPR technology and information from members of the public via the North Yorkshire Community Messaging system, officers were able to trace the vehicles’ movements and share it with neighbouring police forces, resulting in the arrest of four suspects by South Yorkshire Police.

The four men were arrested on suspicion of going equipped to steal and conspiracy to burgle and currently remain in police custody whilst the investigation continues.

Visit the Safer countryside page of the North Yorkshire Police website for more information about help and support available in rural areas, and to find out about Community Messaging.

The operation will target a different area of North Yorkshire each day from 13 to 19 March 2017.