SEVEN motorists were arrested on suspicion of drink-driving during a police operation involving three forces.
Operation Maldives involving Cheshire, North Wales and West Mercia constabularies ran for four nights involving almost 20 staff covering all roads leading into Malpas.
Working alongside police officers were PCSOs and community safety wardens. PC Rob Boulton said three or four squad cars had been involved.
The operation came about because of lead being taken from the roof at St Oswald’s Church in Malpas, the theft of diesel from farms and break-ins at outbuildings. In the event, those arrested were suspected to have been drinking and driving.
PC Boulton told Malpas parish councillors the operation had been “really successful” and he hoped there would be an impact on crime at night once word spread that police were active after dark.
He said: “We would hope to encourage our colleagues to do it again and maybe stage such an operation once a quarter.”
Most members of the public had been pleased to cooperate even when stopped in the early hours.
PC Boulton said he had kept an eye on St Oswald’s Church using a powerful torch, given the number of thefts and vandalism in recent weeks.
The officer added: “When you look at the rural figures they seem to be going in the right direction. There has been quite a significant reduction in the rural area as a whole – that doesn’t include Frodsham and Helsby – so that’s a step in the right direction.”
Recent figures show recorded crime in Cheshire fell by 7% in 2006-07 compared with a 2% fall for England and Wales according to annual crime statistics.
There was a 10% fall in criminal damage, 8% in offences against vehicles, and 7% each in violence against the person and burglary. Other theft offences fell by 1%.
Inspector Phil Hodgson, who is responsible for policing Chester Western Rural, said there had been 36 crimes in Malpas from April 1 to July 20, which came well within the “challenging” target of 46 set by the Government and police authority.
He said crime was also down in Farndon and Dodleston. His detection rate of 26% had just missed the target of 29.6%.