Northern Devon remains one of the safest places to live despite a slight increase in recorded crime, according to the area’s police chief.

Figures released by Devon and Cornwall Police revealed a total of 10,808 crimes were recorded between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018 - a 1.7 per cent increase on the previous year.

The entire force area of Devon and Cornwall saw 104,858 recorded crimes - 46 more than the year before.

North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies said the figures did not necessarily represent 'true crime' in the area.

He said: "Many forces around the country have been criticised for the way in which they are not recording all crime, this area continues to be praised for our ethical and accurate recording of crime, which is important in supporting victims and giving the real story of what is going on.

"Naturally, more accurate recording of crime increases levels of recorded crime but not true crime levels."

Notable figures in North and West Devon include a rise in drugs offences.

The number of possession of drugs crimes recorded rose by 48.6 per cent to 474, and trafficking saw a 10.5 per cent rise to 116.

Supt Davies said the sharp increase reflected the 'proactive' work of officers in targeting drug supply and County Lines groups.

He added: "Any increases only reflect the success we have had in targeting these drug suppliers who bring misery to our communities.

"Continued targeting of drug supply networks in our area remains a priority, particularly where those groups are linked to violence, the targeting of vulnerable people or supply to kids."

More sexual offences were recorded too, with the figure of 356 for offences not including rape, a 32.3 per cent increase on the previous year, a statistic that Supt Davies said is down to more victims feeling able to come forward.

He said: "It is pleasing the victims are feeling more confident in coming forward and has enabled us to support them and target offenders.

"We have over the last year had several large historic investigations which have led to a high number of sexual crimes being recorded.

"Those cases are shortly progressing through the courts."

Vehicle offences, shoplifting and other types of theft have all fallen.