Farmers urged to join rural crime scheme

The speed and weight limits for tractors on the road is set to be increased.
The speed and weight limits for tractors on the road is set to be increased.

Pendle Community Safety Partnership is urging farmers and communities to join a scheme which aims to cut crime in rural areas.

Rural Watch is run by Lancashire Constabulary and it allows the police to share information with country businesses and residents who can be hard to reach.

It offers practical help for people and encourages neighbours to look out for each other.

Coun. David Whipp, chairman of the partnership, said: “In recent months, there has been an increase in thefts involving the farming community. This includes machinery, livestock, tools and fuel.

“Rural Watch is a simple but effective scheme which encourages people in sparsely populated areas to be extra vigilant.”

Since January, three Land Rovers, four quad bikes and four tractors have been stolen. There have also been 11 thefts from agricultural vehicles in Pendle, and 42 sheep or lambs were stolen, with the highest number in Trawden.

The scheme, which is run across Pendle, Burnley and Rossendale, alerts its members to any suspicious behaviour or recent crimes.

This is done by email or text message so that they can take the necessary precautions to keep their land and property safe.

Keith Sandham, Watch Liaison Officer, who operates the scheme, said: “Rural Watch helps us to form closer links with farmers and communities and with more than 700 members we’re able to spread messages widely.

“As well as us passing on police intelligence, members are encouraged to tell us of sightings of suspicious vehicles, poachers or other unusual activity. This information is then passed on to others involved in the scheme.

“I would encourage people who live or have businesses in rural areas to sign up.

“Being part of the scheme can increase feelings of safety and security, enhance the prevention and detection of crime, and help us to recover stolen property.”

If anyone would like to join Rural Watch they should contact Keith on 472938 or e-mail keith.sandham2@lancashire.pnn.police.uk