Norfolk and Suffolk police launch cross border operation against rural crime

Norfolk and Suffolk police have joined forces for a special border operation that will target crime committed overnight in largely rural areas.

Operation Breakout will see officers from both forces carry out high profile and covert patrols along all of the border from the Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft area to Bury St Edmunds/ Thetford region until the end of May.

The focus of the operation will be on burglaries, fuel and metal theft, criminal damage and theft of motor vehicles that happen over night in both counties.

It follows a successful pilot at the end of last year designed to combat overnight crime along the county boundaries of Breckland, South Norfolk, Forest Heath and Mid-Suffolk.

The rural crime pilot had seen officers patrol between 8pm and 4am along the border.

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The extension of the crime clampdown also follows cross border operation targeting motoring offences in Yarmouth. Lowestoft and the launch of an agricultural crime campaign in Norfolk.

Chief Insp Paul Durham, of Norfolk police, said: 'After a successful pilot period, I am very pleased to be launching this initiative for both forces.

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'I think the benefits of collaboration projects like this are tremendous, as officers from both constabularies work together directly, improving communication and efficiency that ultimately, has a real benefit to the public.'

Insp Tristan Pepper, of Suffolk police, said: 'This is an exciting project, but one that will see some real police work in action as we target overnight crime that can plague our rural communities.'

In February during a joint police operation 62 vehicles were stopped on roads between Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth.

Using Automated Number Plate Recognition technology to stop suspicious vehicles Operation Identify saw five vehicles seized for driving licence, insurance and red diesel offence.

Officers issued 15 fixed penalty notices for offences including no insurance, and a warning was issued under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act after a small amount of cannabis was seized from a driver.

Norfolk Police have also launched Operation Randall to target agricultural crime and has formed an alliance with the Farm Watch scheme, the National Farmers' Union, Norfolk hunts and leading Norwich-based agricultural engineers Ben Burgess.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show Norfolk police were called to farms in the county 467 times last year.

The most common offence was theft, with 244 offences reported, while officers also investigated 126 burglaries. Arson attacks were reported 15 times.

In Suffolk 505 offences were reported last year and in Cambridgeshire the figure stood at 421.

Other joint force co-operation has seen the creation of six police investigation centres at Yarmouth, Aylsham, Wymondham, Kings Lynn, Martlesham and Bury St Edmunds earlier this year.

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