Police in Colne step up rural crime fight

HELPING FARMING COMMUNITIES: Paul Cowking from Guy Machinery Ltd with PC Nigel Keates and PC Trish Thompson at a Datatag event in Trawden (S)
HELPING FARMING COMMUNITIES: Paul Cowking from Guy Machinery Ltd with PC Nigel Keates and PC Trish Thompson at a Datatag event in Trawden (S)

Police in Colne have stepped up their fight against rural crime.

Earlier this year, we revealed that a NFU Mutual survey put Lancashire fifth in the list for the cost of rural crime nationally, up £500,000 from £1.3m in 2012 to £1.8m in 2013.

The most common items targeted by thieves in Lancashire over the last 12 months were quadbikes, tools and livestock.

PC Nigel Keates and PC Trish Thompson have successfully secured £5,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner (cash seized from criminals) to launch a new initiative in Foulridge, Trawden, Laneshaw Bridge and Wycoller.

The project will see farm vehicles and equipment Datatag fitted, with members of the farming community being offered a significant discount on a first-come, first-served basis.

Included in the Datatag kit are microdots in a clear glue solution, which can be painted on to “saleable components”. The unique number on each microdot can then be read by the police using magnifiers, and help with making prosecutions. A visible sticker can also be used to help deter thieves.

Rural Community Beat Manager PC Keates said: “This is reactive, but mainly preventative. A professional thief will know what Datatag is, so it will act as a deterrent. It is not nailing anything to the floor, so nobody is saying things won’t get stolen, but it means that vehicle parts and farming equipment are easily identifiable.

“Any force in the country can ring Datatag 24/7 with this part number from a microdot, they can then say that part belongs to farmer X in Trawden, and then we can ask if it has been sold for scrap or if it has been stolen.

“This is open to anybody in Colne’s rural areas, and we have had a good reaction so far.”

Datatag events are now being held within the community, with the first having already taken place at Trawden Recreation Ground.

Supported by Guy Machinery Ltd, £2,200 worth of Datatag security systems were fitted to farming vehicles and equipment belonging to Rural Watch and In The Know members, including quad bikes, tractors, diggers, 4x4s, trailers, chain saws, drills and hand powered equipment. Day two is planned for November 4th.

Anybody wanting to get involved must have proof of their purchase, before a Datatag can be attached to their vehicle or equipment.

For more information on the Datatag visit www.datatag.co.uk/commercial.php. You can also email PC Keates on 1443@lancashire.pnn.police.uk