CHESHIRE Police officers are now issuing yellow cards to anyone suspected of committing criminal activity in the county.

The new Op Yellow Card initiative allows officers who suspect someone is carrying out criminal activity to issue them with a warning card.

This will happen across the county and cards can be handed out anywhere, from the roads network to the streets.

A crime will not have to be in progress for this action to be taken, but there will be police intelligence that the individual is involved in criminal behaviour.

Similar to sports like football, if that person is stopped again in a similar area, and officers suspect they may be up to no good, then a second yellow card will be issued.

Following this, a range of options will be considered including dispersal notices and civil orders.

A record will be kept of those people spoken to, and this information will be reviewed should any crimes subsequently come to light.

Op yellow card will apply to people from outside the county who are not believed to have a legitimate reason for being in the area.

It will also be applied to people who live in Cheshire and are suspected to be carrying out criminal activity.

Chief constable Mark Roberts said: "The message is clear, if you are coming into or travelling through Cheshire to commit a crime then we are watching you and you are not welcome.

"If we believe you are involved in criminality we will target you, and when we issue the yellow card we will explain to you why we are targeting you.

"This is not about stopping people indiscriminately and issuing them with a yellow card unnecessarily, it is about disrupting and deterring crime to help prevent Cheshire residents becoming a victim of crime."

As well as deterring criminals, the constabulary hopes this course of action will help reassure the wider public that criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Cheshire.

Chief constable Roberts added: "We’re making Cheshire a hostile place for criminals and the law-abiding citizens of Cheshire can rest assured that we will continue to target and catch those people who think they can come into our county and commit crime.

"Criminals from outside of the county might think that travelling into Cheshire gives them an advantage, whereas through a range of methods we actually identify them quickly.

"Through initiatives like this, we’re determined to make life as difficult as possible for criminals, and you need to know that if you are issued with a yellow card we will be proactively targeting your criminal activity should you return to Cheshire."