A tranquil area boasting some of the best scenery in the country has now been singled out as officially the safest place to live in England.
Villages in the TD12 postcode area - which straddles the border between Northumberland and the Scottish borders - have the fewest reported incidents, violent crimes, burglaries, thefts and criminal damage incidents per 1,000 population according to a new survey carried out by Royal Mail.
That means that if residents of Howtel, Kilham, Mindrum, Pallinsburn House, Pawston, Cornhill-on-Tweed, Pressen and Shotton and dozens more border villages are more likely to trust your neighbours than anywhere else in the country.
Journal columnist David Banks, who has lived at Crookham for 12 years, said: “It is very safe and people look out for each other.
“I go to parish council meetings of several villages and people always look disappointed because the police have never got anything to report. They do always get very excited if a barn has been broken into, though!
“Further south towards Newcastle crime does seem to increase slightly but there is excitement for police if someone breaks into a hen house on a farmer’s land.”
Mr Banks bought his house 20 years ago and has lived there full-time for 12 years.
He describes the area as an ‘oasis of calm’ where residents have a deep respect for one another.
Parts of rural West Cumbria followed the list of the safest places with the postcodes of LA17 and CA20 listed as having the second and third lowest crime rates in the country.
The study, conducted by Royal Mail, also looked at the cost of living and personal finances of people by post code area.
The Coldstream region again came out as a national leader, but this time for having the second highest average personal loan value at £1,200 per person.
Only residents of the City of London owe more with an average personal loan of £1,500. People living on the Isle of Islay in Scotland owe on average just under £1,000 each and came in third place.
Mr Banks suggests that low wages due to widespread employment in the agricultural sector may explain the high levels of debt.
He said: “Times are hard but people don’t resort to crime.”