Four people were locked in police cells in Skipton as Inspector Will Scarlett gave his report to Craven’s area committee on Thursday.

Two from Blackpool were being questioned over a theft in Ingleton and two from County Durham about thefts in Hebden and Grassington, he revealed.

He said it illustrated his point that much of the crime blighting Craven was carried out by travelling criminals from the urban areas of Lancashire, West Yorkshire and beyond.

He said: “Between 60 and 70 per cent of this sort of crime is by people travelling over the border.

“It is a big challenge and as a result we’re doing much work with our colleagues in those forces,” he said.

Being in a rural area meant more rural crime and special attention was being focused on sheep stealing, which had a big impact on the livelihoods of farmers.

AInsp Scarlett added: “We are also working in partnership with trading standards, environmental health and the Food Standards Agency.

He said: “The thieves have been targeting pedigree stock but also of particular concern are animals which get into the food chain and can’t be traced.

“There are various areas where we are looking, including the question whether it’s getting into the halal food market,” he said.

Overall there had been 1,835 crimes in Craven in the current year, which runs until the end of March.

Last year’s total had been 1,828.

This year burglars had targeted 47 homes and 185 commercial properties and thefts numbered 377 – 24 more than in the same period last year.

Shoplifting offences totalled 150, two less than last year, and violent incidents were down to 270, a drop of 35.

Offences of anti-social behaviour were also down, he said.