Targeting rural crime: Operation Mascot

Police and partner agencies work together to successfully detect criminal activity in the countryside.

THE POLICE were out in force after launching a crackdown on rural crime in Honiton and the surrounding area.

Operation Mascot was a joint operation involving police and community support officers from Honiton, Axminster and Seaton, together with officers from VOSA, the Environment Agency and the Road Fuels team from HM Revenue and Customs.

The two-day operation, which took place last week, involved a combination of static and mobile patrols in Honiton and the wider East Devon area.

Honiton’s neighbourhood beat manager, PC Matt Sinker, said: “This was a very successful operation, which encompassed a joint-agency approach to reducing rural crime.

“By working together with partners, we have prevented, disrupted and detected a great deal of criminal activity across the area, and worked hard to demonstrate to the community at large that we will take robust action to help safeguard their livelihoods and property from a minority of offenders.

“Through the numbers of checks, I would emphasise that our aim was to have a positive impact on the types of crime that affect rural communities and not to unduly disrupt the daily lives of innocent people.

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“I would like to thank the local communities who showed overwhelming support for our work.”

During the operation, VOSA issued 19 prohibition notices and nine immediate prohibition notices where drivers were banned from driving their vehicles until repairs are made because of serious safety issues.

A road fuels team from HMRC also assisted, issuing fines and seizing two vehicles for using a prohibited fuel.

The Environment Agency found three drivers who had committed offences involving the transportation of scrap metal and issued advice to other motorists.

PC Sinker added: “We will continue to work together in the future on similar operations across the area to continue to build safer communities.”