MORE than 170 people have been arrested in just the first weekend of Cheshire Police's dedicated operation to tackling crime over Christmas.

Over the next month, officers will be targeting perpetrators of anti-social behaviour, violence against women and girls, domestic abuse, and drink and drug-driving.

Hot spot areas for the night-time economy will also see 'high impact' policing activity.

In the Macclesfield Local Policing Unit, which covers Knutsford, there were 21 arrests made as dozens more were taken into custody across the county. 

Chief Inspector Matt Charnock, leading the force's Christmas operation, urged people to 'make the right choice' this festive period, or face action from officers.

He added: "We want people to have a great Christmas with friends and family, and we will not allow a small minority of people ruin it for everyone.

"We want people to see our campaign and make the right choice. If you behave safely and responsibly you can have a great Christmas.

"However, if you choose to commit crime – even after we have warned you on the consequences of doing so – then you will have no-one to blame but yourself.

"It is not OK for good people to suffer at the hands of criminals – especially at Christmas time – and there is no place in Cheshire for people to commit crime and cause harm."

Last year Cheshire Police secured more than 600 charges for a variety of offences and this campaign will use officers' body-worn footage to highlight action taken to keep people safe.

Extra measures taking place include high visibility patrols throughout December in targeted areas across the county, with local officers doing all they can to ensure communities are free from criminal activity.

There will also be specially-trained officers deployed to identify and tackle predatory behaviours such as harassment, loitering without reason and stalking behaviour.

Safety buses will be stationed across the county to provide valuable support to those who feel vulnerable or need assistance.

With support from specialist units within the force, officers will also be working hard to locate outstanding offenders and capture individuals wanted on recall to prison, ‘fail to appear’ warrants and any outstanding offences – making sure they are made to face the consequences of their actions.

Chief Inspector Charnock added: "I want to reassure the public our efforts to keep people safe continues and we will do all we can to prevent and disrupt crime occurring in the county."