Cheshire Police's Rural Crime Team has been applauded for its efforts in tackling farm, rural and waste crime across the county.
The team, which was formed in 2019, has been awarded the Team of the Year title at this year's UK Rural and Wildlife Conference.
Officers were particularly commended for their efforts in tackling rural, wildlife, heritage and waste crime across the region.
The team were hailed for making a significant impact in removing rural crime and building public confidence whilst tackling complex investigations.
For example, under the recent Operation Permits, rural crime officers helped combat on-farm fly-tipping, leading to a 50% reduction in incidents.
And more recently, the Rural Crime Team launched Operation Recall, a national campaign which looks to challenge livestock worrying.
As part of it, Cheshire Police partnered with the RSPCA and Naturewatch Foundation in creating the initiative to raise awareness of the impact of livestock worrying and prevent future incidents.
This scheme is unique to Cheshire, with the force the first in the UK rolling out the initiative on a local level.
However, with the support of the newly established National Rural Crime Unit, the aim is now for police forces nationally to take it onboard.
As part of the scheme, educational material has been produced to encourage the public to make a commitment to the cause and think about the consequences that livestock worrying can have.
Responding to the award, Sergeant Rob Simpson, of Cheshire Police's Rural Crime Unit, said he was 'beyond proud' of the work the team did.
He said: “We incredibly honoured to be awarded the title, but we couldn't have achieved the results we have without the fantastic support of our senior command team.
“This award is also testament to the hard work the amazingly dedicated and driven Rural Crime officers have put in over the last twelve months.
"These officers will frequently work unsociable hours, adapting their shifts and come up with novel ideas to target criminals and making the county safer for all who live in it."