Four men have been charged in connection with a spike in rural thefts, burglaries and drug dealing.

Over the last few months, people living in Clitheroe and the surrounding area have experienced a rise in such offences, which included car thefts and fraud.

As a result, police in the Ribble Valley have been working tirelessly to locate the culprits and apprehend them for their crimes.

In the last couple of weeks, two men from Darwen, and man from Burnley have been arrested and charged in connection with the offences.

Sgt Kev Day from the Ribble Valley neighbourhood policing team said: "We knew that we had ourselves some visitors who were not at all welcome.

"Our task force, Colne police team, Tac Ops, tasking cars, burglary team, neighbourhood officers and others, worked tirelessly to identify suspects and target vulnerable areas.

"In the last couple of weeks Lee Cox and Blake Martin from Darwen were arrested following a burglary in Clitheroe. They have now been charged and remanded in custody.

"Stephen Crawford of Burnley was arrested following a number of offences and in relation to crimes in the Ribble Valley, he was charged with fraud by false representation, handling stolen goods, theft from a motor vehicle and attempted burglary.

"Mr Crawford was also remanded in custody."

In addition to the theft and burglary offences, officers have also charged a man in connection with drug dealing following months of investigation work.

Sgt Day added: "Drug dealing and use is an all too common complaint and we receive information from many residents regarding activity in their area.

"We do listen and we will take action, even if it sometimes feels like nothing is happening.

"It takes time to build up an intelligence picture that we can act upon.

"Following a protracted investigation over many months, Charles Dummer of Clitheroe has been charged with multiple offences of possessing class A drugs with the intent to supply, and he will be appearing before the courts in November."

Police bosses have also been making arrangements for more officers to be deployed on the roads with hand held speed cameras in a bid to tackle speeding.

Sgt Day said: "Speeding cars drives many of you mad. The issue is widespread and incredibly difficult to stamp out with police action alone.

"That said we have arranged for eight members of our team to receive training in the use of the hand held speed camera which will give us far more flexibility and means that we won't always have to rely on our traffic colleagues to assist.

"You should start seeing more of this activity over the coming weeks and months."