Friday, 12 January 2018
News and appeals
As part our new Policing Model we would like to put a focus on our rural communities. This is an important issue for us due a large amount of our local area being defined as ‘rural’, however, rural crime is known to be under-reported.
Rural crime is estimated by NFU Mutual to have cost £37.8m for the 2014-2015 period; this figure only takes into account agricultural crimes. The National Rural Crime Survey undertaken in 2015 by the National Rural Crime Network has estimated that the cost of rural crime to the rural economy could be as high as £800m. Rural crime can have the effect of increased insurance premiums, higher food prices and damage the infrastructure of rural communities.
What is Rural Crime?
Following consultation and review across other force areas and the National Wildlife Crime Unit a small working group has been created to progress this. They have provisionally agreed a shared working definition of rural crime in Sussex, as any crime of an agricultural, equine, wildlife or heritage nature.
- Agricultural - working farms, farm machinery, farm buildings, small holdings, offences against livestock and crimes at isolated rural buildings.
- Equine - working stables, tack thefts, equestrian centres.
- Wildlife - illegal hare coursing, poaching, interference with protected species. For more details on wildlife crime. We also deal with Environmental Crime - this includes illegal waste dumping, fly tipping, polluting water courses and pollution of the land. Sussex Police also assist the Environment Agency in the investigation of these crimes. Our Wildlife Crime page holds further information.
- Heritage - lead theft from churches, ancient monuments, illegal metal detecting 'any offence which harms the value of England's heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations'.
We would like to offer some advice on ways in which those in rural communities can protect themselves and their property against crime. It is not only those that live and work in the rural communities that can help in reducing these crimes. Many of us visit the countryside whether it be to appreciate the wildlife, countryside surroundings and historic buildings, and we can all do our bit to help preserve these areas. Take your litter home with you, always keep dogs under control in the countryside and on leads when around livestock, being careful to drive vehicles on authorised roads and not take vehicles or motorbikes off road unless on a Byway Open to all Traffic (BOaT) which is not subject to a Traffic Regulation Order.
Machinery, tools and plant equipment
If possible, secure or immobilise vehicles or pieces of equipment when they're not in use. Again, if practical, try to move machinery from fields, especially if it's near a road. Always keep tools etc., locked away out of sight.
To help identify your property:
- Use engravers to mark vehicles and equipment with your postcode, followed by the first two letters of your farm's name.
- Keep a record of serial, chassis and model numbers.
Fuel and oil theft
- With the price of crude oil rising, oil theft is becoming increasingly common. For advice on how to reduce this in your area, please visit our fuel and oil theft page.
- Animals can be an easy target for thieves. Regularly check the fields where your animals are grazing.
- Keep your hedges, fences and gates in good repair. Field gate hinges should have capping hinges so they can't be removed easily. Cattle grids should be removable and locked out of position when they're not in use. Use locking posts to obstruct large openings to yards, etc.
- Consider installing CCTV.
- If livestock is stolen it's important for you to be able to give the police an accurate description. Eartags and horn brands help police to identify stock. Freeze branding, hot branding or tattooing your postcode will also help. Always take photographs of especially valuable animals.
- Farmhouses can be targeted by burglars because they are often large and in isolated areas. Fit British Standard deadlocks to all outside doors and always use them. These can also be reinforced with bolts. The main door should have a security chain and wide-angle door viewer, so you can see who is on the other side. Consider installing a burglar alarm. Fit window locks on all ground floor windows.
- Keep shotguns and firearms in a securely locked place. Always store ammunition separately.
- If you have to keep cash or jewellery in the house, put it in a quality safe.
- Keep a record of all valuable possessions.
- Whenever possible, use a security marking device to mark them with your postcode followed by the first two letters of your farm's name. Take photos of valuable items next to a ruler (to indicate scale).
- Never show opportunist burglars you're not there by leaving notes for traders, etc. When you're away ask a neighbour to keep an eye on the property.
- Store any valuable equipment and tools in a secure building with a well-built, locked door. Use British Standard locks, good quality locking bars and high security padlocks. Windows can be protected with metal bars. Always lock outbuildings when they're not in use.
- A worthwhile investment is fitting outside security lights controlled by an automatic time-switch or infra-red beams.
- Again, consider installing CCTV.
- Make sure your insurance cover is adequate. Check with your insurance company that you are fully covered for vehicles, equipment and livestock, etc, as well as for the contents of buildings.
A burglary occurred between midnight and 8am on 08 - 09 January 2018, credit cards and a purse were stolen, access was gained by a window. This incident occurred on Elsted Close, Eastbourne. (Ref: 0212 09/01)
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