Crime commissioner stumps up cash to tackle rising thefts from Northamptonshire farms
Northamptonshire's Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is funding a Crimestoppers campaign to tackle thefts of machinery from farms in the county.
Latest official figures revealed the cost of rural crime jumped from £8.9million across the East Midlands in 2017 to a record £9.8m in 2018.
The campaign, with the help of cash from the office of Stephen Mold, will focus on the theft of farm machinery and vehicles. These high-value items which can often be stolen to order, dismantled and then sent abroad.
Mr Mold has made tackling rural crime a high priority since he was elected in May 2016.
He said: "I funded the post of Rural Crime Co-ordinator to try to improve the way we communicate with rural communities and co-ordinate the work of all the agencies who are supporting life in the countryside.
"Rural crime in Northamptonshire really hit the headlines in 2019 following the spate of stock thefts and butchery and I was pleased to be able to provide extra resources to support the police investigation that resulted in a number of men being arrested and charged."
Three men pleaded not guilty at Northampton Crown Court last week after being charged with allegedly killing and butchering around 350 sheep in the county over a period of four months.
Police chiefs fear the nature of smaller, rural communities being more closely-knit, means there can be a reluctance for people to speak up about crime in their area fearing intimidation or revenge.
But independent charity Crimestoppers is guaranteeing 100 per cent anonymity to everyone who contacts them.
Lydia Patsalides, East Midlands Regional Manager for the charity, said: “Farmers have often experienced violence when confronting thieves on their land.
"The theft of tractors or quad bikes can be devastating to the running of their business.
“Our charity wants to make people aware of not just the financial impact of specific rural crime, but of the severe emotional effect on communities.
"The fear of crime can make people afraid to leave their homes, or leave businesses and farms unattended, which can add to levels of isolation. It’s our goal to protect and support local people and businesses.
"We understand that some people struggle to talk to the police. This is why Crimestoppers charity is here. As an independent charity, we listen to people’s crime concerns, take relevant information and pass it on 100 per cent anonymously.
"Please call 0800 555 111 or use our anonymous online form. Together, we can help protect your community and the one’s you care about from harm.”