CROOKS operating in rural areas across Herefordshire have been targeted in a three-day crackdown by West Mercia Police.

Over the past three nights police from across the force have been out on patrol in some of the most rural areas of the county.

Officers from Safer Neighbourhood Teams, CID and the newly formed local policing priority teams were supported by volunteers from the special constabulary to carry out the successful Operation Farmwatch.

Operation Farmwatch saw vehicles stopped and checked with arrests made for drug offences and drink-driving.

Highly visible reassurance patrols were carried with officers stopping and speaking to people parked up in laybys to check they were safe, particularly lorry drivers parked up for the night.

Key routes throughout the areas counties were targeted along with smaller country lanes.

The aim of the operation was to send a clear message to criminals West Mercia Police will take steps to disrupt them as well as offer reassurance to local communities.

Local policing Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell said: "We know that the majority of rural crime is committed by travelling criminals, people who are often part of a larger organised network who travel into our counties to commit crime, and as part of our protect campaign we're committed to disrupting and dismantling these crime groups.

"As part of this three-day operation we have provided a highly visible police presence in some of our most rural areas across Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin to send a clear message to criminals travelling through our counties they're not welcome.

"I'm really pleased with the results and would like to offer my assurances to our local communities that this operation was not a one off, we will continue to carry out similar operations over the coming months and continue to do all we can to protect our communities."