OFFICERS in Cumbria have praised the success of a week of action against rural crime.

Last week Cumbria Police held a week-long campaign, which was coordinated by the National Police Chiefs' Council.

The week began on the evening of October 6 with Operation Checkpoint, which involved officers from Eden, South Lakes, Allerdale and 17 volunteers joining the drive.

The operation - which the force says is regularly conducted - targets organised crime groups who are involved in crimes such as theft and burglary throughout the region.

On the night 18 vehicles were stopped, no arrests were made.

Two days later Mini Police from Wigton's Thomlinson Junior School attended Mawbray beach to conduct a beach clean-up.

During the day the Mini Police collected a variety of rubbish including fishing twine, balloons, plastic cartons, beer cans and an old pillow.

On October 10 officers in Eden completed a joint operation with Eden Council community wardens inspecting scrap metal dealers.

Throughout the week officers in the district have also been visiting local farmers who have been subject of crime and providing crime prevention advice and stop check on farms.

A total of 20 vehicles that were driving near to rural pubs were also stopped by police in north Cumbria, with a 22-year-old Carlisle man arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and drug driving.

He has also been released under investigation.

The week of action concluded with Operation Checkpoint on October 13, which was conducted overnight in north Cumbria along the Northumberland border.

Forty-four vehicles were stopped, with one being seized for no insurance.

There were also a number of events held across Cumbria inviting the public to speak to officers on crime prevention and encouraging farmers to sign up to a security and registration schemes to help prevent equipment theft.

Farmers were also offered the chance to join a datatag scheme to mark tractors, quads and motorcycles, for a small fee, which makes stolen vehicles easier to track and identify.

The following events also took place throughout the week:

· Crime prevention event - Harrison & Hetherington at Rosehill, Carlisle – October 8;

· Wildlife crime day - Watchtree Nature Reserve, Wiggonby – October 9. Police pod giving advice to dog walkers on wildlife crime, what to look out for and what to report - the idea being to boost vigilance;

· Crime prevention event - Harrison & Hetherington at Rosehill, Carlisle - October 11. Sheep marking with Tectracer.

Wildlife and rural crime coordinator, Samantha O’Key said: “The past week has been a great success, we have held a number of events around Cumbria to provide prevention advice to rural communities. These are small steps people can take to prevent becoming a victim of crime.

“I urge anyone who has experienced or witnessed a wildlife or rural crime to contact the police or call the dedicated Crimestoppers rural reporting line on 0800 783 0137.”

Superintendent Carl Patrick, force wildlife and rural crime lead said: “Targeting wildlife and rural crime and keeping people safe are priorities for the neighbourhood policing teams in Cumbria.

“Officers from across the county have been out raising awareness and taking part in operations to disrupt criminals that target our rural communities. We have had a number of great results from the week of action that show that Cumbria is not an easy target."

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “Throughout Rural and Wildlife Crime Week, our local community policing teams and partner organisations have undertaken various additional activities in their local areas to support the week.

“A focus on rural and wildlife crime is vital all year round, especially as the nature of the crimes has recently attracted organised crime gangs from outside of the county.

“I have been in Alston with Operation Checkpoint this week and it was great to work with our Eden Proactive team and partners from Northumbria Police, share intelligence and focus on a joint cross border approach to rural crime.

“Vigilance and public support is essential if we are all to help support and fight crime in our rural communities.

“If you have experienced, witnessed or have any information about rural crimes please come forward and call Crimestoppers Rural Reporting Line - a specialist number dedicated to reporting rural crime anonymously 0800 783 0137.”