LIVESTOCK, farm tools, oil, diesel, quad bikes, and trailers remain top targets for thieves in the Warwickshire countryside.
It’s estimated rural crime costs at least £750,000 in Warwickshire – a rise of 16 per cent on the previous year – and over £42 million nationally.
There has been a sharp increase in the theft of expensive tractors and recent intelligence suggests organised criminals are specifically targeting British farms and machinery dealers. The problem affects communities, businesses, farmers and manufacturers.
The rise in rural crime has prompted independent charity Crimestoppers to launch a campaign across Warwickshire. Crimestoppers is working closely with agencies including Stratford-based NFU Mutal, Horse Watch, and Rural Watch to spread the word that there is a safe, anonymous way to report crime.
Pauline Hadley, Crimestoppers’ regional manager said: “Rural crime causes loss of income, stress and anxiety to victims. We are launching this campaign during the lambing season and highlighting theft of livestock which is particularly challenging at this time of year.
“We urge people to be aware of the types of crimes happening locally and to pass on information in complete anonymity to Crimestoppers, By contacting us you won’t have to speak to the police or go to court. We only want to know what you know, not who you are.”
The two month campaign will include posters, leaflets and mobile advertising, and targeted social media.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe, said: “Warwickshire is not a soft target.
Ensuring people report crime in rural areas is important, so I’m delighted to see Crimestoppers launch the campaign in the county. It will help boost awareness of rural crime.”
Duncan Hawley, chairman of the NFU Warwickshire, also welcomed teh campaign.
He added: “We urge farmers and those in rural communities to remain vigilant and keep an eye out for suspicious people or vehicles. Unfortunately thieves do target farms and we would urge members to take extra security steps if possible, including locking gates and ensuring outbuildings are secure where they can.
“The key message has to be one of vigilance and to make use of Crimestoppers.”
Information can be reported anonymously via crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling 0800 555 111.