POLICE officers and local volunteers joined forces to help keep North Yorkshire’s rural areas safe from crime.

Dozens of officers and PCSOs deployed for widespread patrols in the northern and central parts of the county on Wednesday night, as part of Operation Checkpoint – a major clampdown on rural crime.

The operation kept the pressure up on suspected poachers, with several being stopped, checked, and warned about their behaviour.

Officers were joined by 27 Rural Watch volunteers and between them, they provided a high-visibility presence along the A1 corridor through Hambleton and Richmondshire; throughout the Craven district; in and around Stokesley, Northallerton, Bedale and Easingwold; and across the North York Moors.

As a result, 20 vehicles were stopped, three breath tests were administered and a motorist was reported for summons for speeding.

Poaching suspects were also targeted, and while no offences were identified on the night, several will be sent written Community Protection Notices warning them about their future activities.

Sergeant Stuart Grainger, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce, said: “We covered a lot of ground last night – once again the Watch groups gave us invaluable support, and I’d like to thank them for the unsung work that they do.”