North Yorkshire Police’s Road Crime Team is helping to turn the screw on suspected travelling criminals with around £1.5m of property and drugs seized during the past month.
Supporting colleagues from within the force and partner agencies, the Tadcaster-based officers continue to act upon intelligence reports and “hits” on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to intercept vehicles linked to criminal activity.
They are playing an integral role in Operation Hawk, North Yorkshire Police’s ongoing campaign to crack down on rural and cross-border crime.
During September, the Road Crime Team stopped and searched 46 vehicles and 68 people resulting in 22 arrests.
The latest incident of note involved a grey Lexus car that was spotted heading south on the A1(M) in the Boroughbridge area at 3pm on Sunday 6 October 2013.
They tracked the vehicle over the West Yorkshire border and stopped it on the M1.
A large amount of cash and the vehicle itself were seized by the officers.
Three men – a 33-year-old from Huddersfield, a 39-year-old from Bradford and a 21-year-old from Bradford – were arrested on suspicion of possession of criminal property. Following questioning they were released on bail.
CID and the Financial Investigation Unit are supporting the ongoing enquiries.
At the beginning of September, the Road Crime Team arrested five men from Leeds and seized six vehicles after they uncovered a suspected vehicle cutting workshop in Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Selby.
Acting on intelligence, officers became suspicious of the use of a large industrial unit on Sir John’s Lane.
At around 3pm on Tuesday 3 September 2013, the team surrounded the premises after breaking through a locked gate. After hearing noises from within the unit they entered the premises at which point four men who where inside the building began ran off.
Officers arrested one of the men inside the unit and after a short pursuit on foot, they detained three others. A fifth man was arrested the following day.
The workshop contained 10 vehicles and numerous vehicle parts. Six suspected stolen vehicles including two Volkswagen Golfs, an Audi A4, a Citroen Berlingo, a Peugeot 308, and a Ford Transit van have been seized by the police as part of the investigation. A quad bike was also seized.
The arrested men are all from the Leeds area and are aged 31, 34, 44 and two aged 22. They were detained in police custody for questioning and were released on conditional police to allow for further enquiries.
On Thursday 26 September, the Road Crime Team were called in to support Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to intercept a lorry that was travelling through the Selby area that was linked to criminals from Poland.
A substantial amount of cigarettes were seized from the lorry and three men were arrested and charged in connection with the HMRC investigation.
The team were also involved in the seizure of thousands of pounds worth of heroin after a car was stopped on the A59 at West Marton, in the Skipton area, at 11.10am on Monday 30 September 2013.
Three kilograms of heroin was discovered in the boot of the car and two men from Harrogate were subsequently charged to Harrogate Magistrates’ Court for possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.
The investigation is being run by Harrogate CID.
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, who is leading Operation Hawk, said:
The Road Crime Team is making a very big impact in disrupting suspected criminals who are using the road networks in North Yorkshire and the surrounding region.
From the feedback I have heard, the criminals themselves are beginning to realise that North Yorkshire Police means business and our county is a no-go area for their illegal activity.
Criminals need to know that their vehicles will be routinely stopped and searched in North Yorkshire. And make no mistake, they will be arrested if they are suspected of being involved in crime. Our officers will even come knocking on front doors in neighbouring counties if necessary.
There is nowhere to hide and there will be no let up.
The Road Crime Team is made up of nine North Yorkshire Police officers – one sergeant and eight constables – who were part of the now disbanded Regional Road Crime Team which operated across Yorkshire and Humberside.
Maximising the range of skills, expertise and regional intelligence links they developed during the past five years, they were brought back to North Yorkshire by Chief Constable Dave Jones to spearhead Operation Hawk.
Residents can follow the Road Crime Team on Twitter @NYPRoadCrime and using the hashtag #OpHawk
For the latest information about Operation Hawk please visit the North Yorkshire Police Website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/hawk