CRIME in a rural borough has dropped by almost a third in the last three years, according to new figures.

Statistics from Lancashire Police show that crime in the Ribble Valley has dropped by 28.5 per cent in the three years since April 2005.

Back in 2005, the Ribble Valley Crime and Disorder Prevention Partnership set itself a target of reducing crime by 13.5 per cent within three years, a figure it smashed.

The fall has cemented the borough's standing as one of the safest places to live in the North West.

The partnership, which is spearheaded by Ribble Valley Council and comprises the Lancashire Youth and Community Service, Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Constabulary and the East Lancashire Primary Care Trust, received a letter from Stephen Cahill, acting director of the Police and Crime Standards Directorate, praising its work.

Ribble Valley Council chief executive David Morris, who is the partnership's chairman, said: "All the agencies involved in the partnership are to be congratulated for their outstanding commitment to reducing crime in Ribble Valley.

"Thanks to some fantastically innovative work on a shoestring budget the partnership and its members has contributed significantly to a reduction in crime in Ribble Valley over recent years."

Projects spearheaded by the Ribble Valley Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership include the Longridge skate park, Longridge CCTV systemand Pubwatch schemes in Clitheroe and Longridge.