A police campaign targeted neighbourhood nuisances and organised criminals during a nine-day operation.
Operation Relentless is Durham Constabulary’s force-wide programme to crackdown on criminality, acting on information from residents and tip-offs, and bringing together a host of organisations to support the activities.
Seven raids searching for drugs were carried out on homes in Peterlee, Shotton Colliery, Wingate, Thornley and Trimdon Station, while the overall operation also covered Wheatley Hill.
Vehicles without insurance, those which had been abandoned, ‘pool cars’ - vehicles used between criminals and often set alight - and motorbikes being used illegally were seized.
The force’s road policing unit also helped carry out stops and checks using number plate recognition technology, with the results caught on camera to be screened as part of the Channel 5 show Police Interceptors.
A Stay Safe night focused on anti-social behaviour by congregating youths, fuelled by alcohol, and saw licensing officers drafted in to find out where booze had been bought and ensured those under the influence got home safely after their parents were called.
Our message to the public is, if you speak to us we will do whatever we can to deal with that issue or look at who best can tackle it.Inspector Lee Blakelock
Defendants who failed to appear at court and those on the ‘Most Wanted’ list were also rounded up.
Police cadets took to the beat to post leaflets and pass on crime prevention packs, while the area’s Mini Police teams also supported Police Community Support Officers by monitoring drivers’ speeds on hotspot roads.
A series of community events, including walkabouts to highlight areas of concern on the streets, were also held on the back of the activities to gather further information.
The operation was backed by the Safer Durham Partnership, which brings together the police with organisations including Durham County Council, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, the National Probation Service and the NHS, with representatives using the week to push out their messages.
Inspector Lee Blakelock said: “Our message to the public is, if you speak to us we will do whatever we can to deal with that issue or look at who best can tackle it. The feedback we’ve had has been great and even the criminals have said ‘We have seen you all over the place,’ which for me shows how much of a success it has been.”