A festive crackdown on organised crime and travelling criminals has helped to deter offenders visiting North Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire Police launched Operation Highwayman on Monday 22 November 2010 to protect residents from criminals who use the county's road network to commit offences before escaping back into neighbouring counties.
The main focus of the operation is to protect the public from serious acquisitive crime - including domestic burglary, two-in-one burglary, drug offences and theft - using roads policing officers, firearms support units and ANPR capability to overtly police North Yorkshire's roads and borders.
Since Operation Highwayman began officers have stopped 305 vehicles, searched 55 people and gathered valuable intelligence on cross-border criminals.
The high-visibility approach has been a key factor in the success of the operation and has resulted in a dramatic reduction in serious acquisitive crime since the initiative began.
There has been a 50% reduction in domestic burglary in Harrogate since the Operation Highwayman team began patrolling the roads in the district.
Police recorded 10 incidents between 22 November 2010 and 5 December 2010. For the same period the previous month there were 20 domestic burglaries in the area.
Two-in-one burglaries have also fallen in Harrogate with just one being reported since the beginning of the operation compared to five the previous month - with the Operation Highwayman team complementing the good work of Operation Raccoon which has vastly reduced the number of offences in Harrogate District over the past few months.
Only one two-in-one burglary has been recorded in York since Operation Highwayman patrols began, compared to 28 over the previous six months.
Soon after the operation began, officers arrested a 20-year-old man from York on suspicion of committing a two-in-one burglary in New Earswick.
York has also seen a decrease in domestic burglary following the introduction of Operation Highwayman, with 26 offences recorded between 22 November 2010 and 5 December 2010, compared to 31 incidents for the same period the previous month.
In the Craven District there has only been one two-in-one burglary and two domestic burglaries since the operation began.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: "It is clear that Operation Highwayman is acting as a strong deterrent to criminals who visit North Yorkshire and the City of York with the intention of preying on our communities.
"It is something that we are not prepared to accept and I am delighted that the operation is showing such a positive reduction in crime at this early stage.
"We will continue to patrol the roads right up until Christmas and into the new year, to ensure that criminals know we are around, know we are watching them and if we catch them they will be dealt with appropriately.
"We have gathered some important intelligence since the beginning of the operation, so if criminals cross the border into North Yorkshire and the City of York, there is a good chance that we will know who they are and will be waiting for them."
ACC Madgwick also stressed the responsibility that residents have to ensure that their property is secure.
He added: "It is imperative that people do their bit to make life as difficult as possible for criminals.
"Everyone should have adequate security measures in place to ensure that their homes are well protected, particularly at this time of year when the nights are dark.
"Keep doors and windows locked, even when at home, and leave a light on when you go out. Report any suspicious behaviour and help us to help you have a crime-free Christmas."
2.23pm - 9 December 2010