Officers working on #OpAppleorchid are reflecting on a successful week of action tackling rural and wildlife crime across the region.
As part of the week-long focussed operation which ran from Monday 6 December, officers visited a number of Christmas tree farms and suppliers, gave out crime prevention advice and patrolled areas vulnerable to criminality over the festive period.
Officers also patrolled areas often targeted by individuals aimed at illegally hunting mammals at this time of year.
In Cannock, local officers conducted a joint operation with the local authority’s environmental health team.
Officers visited scrap metal dealers in the area following a recent trend of highway drain cover thefts in rural locations.
These thefts placed road users at risk and cost the local authority thousands of pounds to replace.
Officers were able to advise scrap metal dealers of the criminality and urge them to report if any such drain covers were handed over to them.
On Thursday 9 December, PC Darren Wilkes and PC Kriss Jones from Cannock Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), then visited rural locations and gave crime prevention advice to residents and business in the rural community.
South Staffordshire NPT worked with West Mercia Police, on Wednesday 8 December, to focus on poaching and the theft of farming equipment across the two force areas.
During the activity, a number of people were searched and a quantity of drugs were recovered.
A vehicle was later seized under the Hunting Act 2004.
A man was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs after officers noticed a strong smell of cannabis coming from the vehicle.
PCSO Louise Jones, who was involved in 8 December activity, said: “Working with our neighbouring police forces to tackle this type of crime gives us more resources across both areas and we are able to share our local knowledge to deliver the best outcomes to our community.”
Overall, during the week of action, more than 40 officers from across NPT areas spent considerable hours working with rural communities on issues concerning them.
Reflecting on the week, Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, force lead for the Rural and Wildlife Crime Unit (RWCU), said: “Rural neighbourhood officers and the force's RWCU work tirelessly all year round in rural locations to target wildlife crime and protect rural communities.
“This latest week of action has not only provided extra visibility and reassurance in rural locations during a time of the year when the long dark nights can leave them feeling isolated, but also targeted those who may wrongly believe that such areas are less likely to receive police attention and consider targeting them for crime.”
To find out more about policing in your local area, visit: https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/a/your-area/.
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