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POLICE in south-west England launched a cross-border operation to combat rural crime.
It comes amid reports that more properties in rural locations are being targeted by people who are asking to buy scrap metal or old batteries.
Dubbed Operation Newmarket, the initiative saw officers from Devon and Cornwall constabulary join forces with Avon and Somerset to target people responsible for committing rural crime.
The Operation Newmarket team is responsible for preventing and detecting rural crime in east and mid-Devon, gathering intelligence and liaising with neighbouring police forces.
Officers worked together with local policing teams, neighbourhood police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and officers from the road crime unit.
During two evenings, some 143 people and vehicles were stopped in rural locations within east and mid-Devon, covering the border areas of Avon and Somerset and Dorset.
Officers from Avon and Somerset police deployed the same initiative on their force area and achieved similar results.
The operation took place during the evenings of 23-24 May.
Rural crime continues to be a priority and the Operation Newmarket team was working hard to provide public reassurance, said a police spokesman.
The aim is to prevent offences taking place and, where they have taken place, catch and convict those people responsible.
Rural residents are being encouraged to take personal responsibility for their property and do all they can to ensure it is marked and locked away, with serial numbers recorded separately.
This simple action would provide a more realistic prospect of officers being able to detect crime and bring those offenders to justice, said the police spokesman.
The police would like to hear from anybody who believes that they have witnessed a suspicious incident or have seen suspicious vehicles in their area.
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