Rural theft in Wiltshire fell in 2020
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According to a report published today by a leading insurer specialising in farming and rural interests, Wiltshire saw rural theft fall by 19% in 2020. The South West region saw a decrease of 24% over the previous 12 months.
Nationally, the value of rural thefts has been estimated at £43.3m in 2020, the lowest annual cost in 5 years.
Detective Sergeant Greg Fergusson of the Rural Crime Team said: “Rural crime has fallen during the lockdown periods over the past year. However, what we have seen is a shift of theft of larger equipment such as livestock, tractors and loaders to smaller items such as GPS systems and quad bikes that can more easily be transported. Livestock theft is still a problem but it has been harder to move animals around the country as there have been fewer vehicles on the road.”
“Any theft can have a big impact on local communities, insurance premiums and food prices. Modern farming methods use GPS for gathering data about soil and to monitor crop conditions and many farms have quadbikes. To combat such crimes we work closely with land owners, neighbouring Police Forces and rural communities and organisations who provide valuable intelligence.”
“We need everybody to be alert to rural theft particularly now Covid rules have been relaxed. You can report on the Wiltshire Police website or by calling 101. In an emergency situation always call 999.”
Rural crime is not limited to theft but includes heritage crime and wildlife crime such as animal cruelty, poaching and hare coursing.
The Rural Crime Team is diligent in its work and over the past month has run a number of roadside operations alongside Roads Policing Unit, Wiltshire Council Environmental Health Officers and National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service. The purpose of the operation was to disrupt those individuals who are involved in illegal waste removal/disposal and to identify stolen machinery and vehicles which maybe moving about on the roads of Wiltshire.
A number of offences were identified and follow up-enquiries are also being completed by the Wiltshire Council environment officers on several waste carriers.
Drivers can expect to see more of these joint operations as the Rural Crime Team and Roads Policing Unit continue to pursue those involved in rural crime offences.
As we enter the harvest season we expect to see an increase in hare coursing and the Rural Crime Team, along with our community policing teams and colleagues in the Ministry of Defence Police, will be actively seeking to prevent, disrupt and capture those involved in this activity. We would ask members of the public who see activity they believe to be hare coursing, groups of men with running dogs in large open fields for example, to report the matter as soon as possible.