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Wealden Police Weekly News and Alerts
Alert message sent 10/09/2021 15:06:00
Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police
Friday 10th September 2021
Wealden Police weekly News and Alerts
Rural Crime Team September Update
Rural criminality tends to follow a pattern that matches the changing seasons. With many of the crops across Sussex now harvested and summer steadily changes to autumn, the greater area of open spaces can become a target for poachers.
This, therefore, is a good time to break perceptions of poaching and to highlight the seriousness of this highly impactive crime.
If the word poaching brings to mind images from old school history books of people hunched over, with furtive looks, carrying lanterns, nets and a brace of rabbits, then you are to some extent excused. After all, the Night Poaching Act 1828 is still relevant today and is used by police forces across the UK.
What is poaching?
Effectively poaching is theft and trespass. However, it often involves the use of dogs, firearms and other weapons, so the risk and offences can be much broader.
Poaching, in its many different forms is a significant crime, which is often linked to wider criminality and has a massive impact on our rural communities.
Organised Crime Groups are involved in poaching, Hare Coursing being an example. Illegal bets of up to tens of thousands of pounds are placed on the outcome of hare coursing. The funding for those bets often comes from the theft of tractors, quad bikes and other high value agricultural equipment. It is all part of the bigger picture that we have written about previously on how one crime links to another.
Both the Rural Crime Team and other policing teams across Sussex have been responding to reports of poaching over the last month. District response and firearms officers recently arrested someone in Hartfield, East Sussex on suspicion of poaching.
How can you help?
Please keep reporting and most importantly whilst it’s happening. If you have information about someone acting suspiciously on farmland, perhaps with dogs, then let us know by reporting online or in an emergency call 999. If you have vehicle registrations and descriptions of people then even better.
Many poachers operate across the UK and may be training dogs in preparation for hare coursing. Your call can help us disrupt their activities as well as lead to prosecutions.
Policing and Community Partnerships
During August there have been a number of 4x4 and high value tool thefts across Sussex, with many occurring in the north of Wealden District. The Rural Crime Team is working closely alongside our Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Specialist Enforcement Unit and colleagues in Kent Police.
Vigilant rural communities are playing a significant part in this too and collectively we have already seen some positive results. A Nissan Navara stolen in Crowborough on 6 August was found the same evening, all thanks to that policing and community partnership.
Also, on 3 September a named suspect for a farm burglary in Wealden District was arrested by Kent Police. Reassuringly, the net is closing in on the suspects and although we cannot release specifics quite yet, we expect to provide updates soon.
The Rural Crime Team patrolled farmland on the South Downs near Brighton in July due to a mass trespass incident, involving more than 300 people. Rights of way and access to land across the UK is a hotly debated subject that continues to evolve. With our unique understanding of rural affairs, our crews deployed in 4x4s to engage with protest members and local farmers to ensure the protest concluded responsibly and peacefully, with minimal disruption to the farming community, livestock and environment.
Missing and injured
On 6 August an injured dog walker called police, having fallen over in Abbots Wood near Hailsham. With boggy ground conditions and no confirmed location, this was treated as a high risk missing person incident and drew upon resources from Sussex Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service HART team.
The Rural Crime Team provided ground support, coordinating the search and assisting with off road vehicles. Thankfully the owner’s dog was found by officers from the Dedicated Coaching Unit who located the injured person nearby.
Off road access was restricted and hazardous, but a combination of our 4x4s and the HART team’s specialist ATV meant they were able to be recovered safely and taken to hospital.
Officers from the Midhurst based Rural Crime Team attended a report of hare coursing on the Angmering Park Estate. The informant was able to give good descriptions of the suspects and vehicles involved, leading to three men being caught with five dogs. All three suspects were issued Community Protection Warnings, just one of the valuable tools that we have available to deal with many offences.
Community Protection Notice issued
Rural Crime Team officers have issued a Community Protection Notice (CPN) to a dog owner in Heathfield on 4 September.
The owner, who is currently the subject of a court case relating to livestock worrying, had previously been issued with a Community Protection Warning (CPW) with strict conditions about how their dog was to be handled in public.
When the dog owner was found to be breaching the CPW, officers issued the CPN, which not only includes conditions, but is also an arrestable offence if not complied with.
Take care when buying a puppy
The Rural Crime Team is investigating a number of offences regarding illegal puppy farming. Officers have seen first-hand the abhorrent conditions that puppies have been kept in when smuggled into the UK.
Often pups are too young to be weaned and removed from their mothers and have not been properly vaccinated or cared for. Also, they have typically lived their first few weeks in poor conditions. There is a wealth of guidance and information online from animal welfare charities and we strongly advise you to seek advice before buying a puppy.
A few simple steps such as seeing puppies with their parents in a safe home environment, as well as not parting with money beforehand, will help protect you from fraudulent advertising and reduce the chances of buying a dog with significant health problems.
It almost goes without saying that the pups’ health and wellbeing is the most important factor and by following sound advice you will help reduce the market for unscrupulous dog breeders and traders.
Farm Safety Training
The Rural Crime Team held a training day at Plumpton College on 1 September. The day was hosted by the National Farmers Union and Plumpton College staff, who provided valuable classroom and practical experiences relating to farm safety. Topics covered included tractors and farm machinery, electrical and chemical hazards and the safe handling of livestock.
This ‘wellies on’ form of training was well received and so important given our visits to farms across Sussex. The opportunity to ‘herd’ some young cattle on the college’s working farm was both instructive and entertaining, not to mention a trip down memory lane for Sgt Jon Attfield, a former pupil of Plumpton College.
Safe/socially distanced community meeting Pevensey Bay
Join PCSO Whitaker on the 15/09/21 at 14:00hrs at Sea Road car park, Pevensey Bay where she will be there to speak to local residents about any local issues they are facing, as well as update on our continued commitment to keeping your communities and roads safe.
Can't make it to see us?
You can always contact us 24/7: 101/online for non-emergencies and a library of current advice and support for a range of crimes, including dangerous driving and anti-social behaviour. 999 in an emergency/crime in action
Your new police station in Crowborough is now open
The new station is the culmination of work with partner agencies to respond to the needs of the community in the north Wealden area and will provide more modern working facilities for our teams.
In autumn 2019 the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) purchased the former Crowborough Town Council building in the town centre to convert to a new police station. This now replaces the former outdated and out-of-town police station which had been used for generations. Following the challenges of 2020, renovation started last autumn to provide a fit-for-purpose, modern base.
Members of the Wealden Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) will now be based in the new town centre facility and the front office counter will be more easily accessible. These were important factors for the communities of Crowborough, as mentioned in a consultation run by Sussex PCC Katy Bourne in March 2020.
Mrs Bourne said: "I am delighted that Crowborough will have a new police station to give residents a real sense of community policing. From my consultation in the town last year, I know that this has been missed in recent times and will be warmly welcomed by local people.
"I’m looking forward to seeing the new police station acting as a real hub of the community, providing reassurance and protection to Crowborough as well as to the neighbouring rural areas.
"The more central location of the new station will house members of the neighbourhood policing team, making them a genuine part of the town and more visible to residents. This is exactly what local people told me they wanted."
With its central location, officers will be able to spend more time proactively policing the community and tackling local issues, with less time travelling between hubs. It will enable officers and staff to focus on proactive problem-solving initiatives, addressing local concerns and the policing priorities for the area.
The NPT will be working with the community and partner agencies to manage and resolve long-term issues and will provide consistency of contact.
Wealden NPT Inspector Kendal Wells explains: “This has been an exciting project to be involved in and the opening of the new station will be really positive news for the communities of North Wealden. Officers and staff see this as an excellent opportunity to work from a new base and I know they cannot wait to get started.”
While this is primarily a new Wealden Neighbourhood Police station, other teams such as Response, the Roads Policing Unit, the Rural Crime Team and others will be regular visitors.
The station was officially opened on September 8, in the attendance of PCC Katy Bourne, Wealden MP Nusrat Ghani, T/ACC Jayne Dando, local Wealden town and parish councillors and Sussex Police staff and officers.
Divisional Commander for East Sussex, Chief Superintendent Tanya Jones said: “Ultimately the move to this central location provides a more accessible and visible presence to help with community policing and working together as one to address issues.
"Visiting a police station is one of the ways the public can report crime or contact a member of Sussex Police. We are committed to providing services that meet customer needs and understand the value placed upon being able to visit a police station face-to-face, alongside providing a wide range of contact options over the phone and online."
From Thursday September 9th the front office will be open for business from 12.30pm. Regular opening times for the front office at the new police station are Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.
ASB Patrols this weekend - Heathfield
Each week, targeted ASB patrols head out across the district to known areas, and areas of ASB behaviour, and driving reported by your communities.
Both Friday and Saturday this week, teams will be conducting additonal patrols in Heathfield.
Call 07770700642 between 1800-0000 each Friday and Saturday if the team are in your area, if you witness, or are victim to anti-social behaviour (ASB), and report directly to officers on the ground, out targeting areas of known and reported ASB.
This number does not change each week, keep a note of it if you need to contact us. Outside of these times please continue to report anti-social behaviour to us online, or by calling 101, or remember always call 999 in an emergency.
Early evening on the 4th an address off Boreham St, Wartling reported a burglary whereby unknown individual/s have entered through fence and then broken into unit and stole 3 pieces of plant/machinery (1248 of 4/9)
In the small hours of the 4-5th an address off Beeches Rd, Crowborough reported an attempted break in after hearing windows being smashed in the small hours. No entry was gained and nothing stolen. (382 of 5/9)
Overnight on the 4-5th, a property off The Street, Polegate, reported finding a mountain bike stolen from their shed. Unknown individual/s have entered garage via electric door and removed a mountain bike and tools before entering a wooden barn and removing a further 2 bikes, locks were cut. (316 of 5/9)
A vehicle was stolen but later found from a property off Western Rd, Crowborough. During night time hours of the 4-5th; access was gained to the property, and keys to the vehicle were taken. (484 of 5/9)
Early afternoon on the 7th a property off Dittons Road, Polegate, reported an attempted break in whereby unknown individuals have smashed a window pane of the door to try and gain entry. (937 of 7/9)
Personal items including a watch and a wallet were stolen from a property off Tidebrook Road, Wadhurst, between the 5-9th. Unknown individual/s have forced entry to a rear door to gain entry to the property, a search was conducted and various personal items taken. (393 of 9/9)
Members of the public and business owners are asked to remain alert to any suspicious activity in their area, and to report any concerns to police online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
There are a number of steps residents can take to property their property, including alarm systems and CCTV cameras, for a range of crime prevention advice, support and tips to keep you and your property safe click here.
If you have been the victim of a burglary, please report online, or by calling 101 – always dial 999 in an emergency/burglary in action.
Action Fraud scam watch
Did you know scams cost the UK economy £5-£10 Billion a year, with over 50% of people over 65 having already been targeted by scams; and only 5% of all scams reported?
Action Fraud’s top tips
Although fraud and cybercrime comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
Follow Action Frauds’ personal safety checklist to keep you and those around you safe from fraud, including the latest advice around pet scams online.
Action Fraud is reminding animal lovers to take extra care when buying a pet online, as new figures show more than £2.5 million has been lost to criminals through fake pet adverts.
If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
You can also visit our website at www.sussex.police.uk where you can find our easy to use online forms to report all non-emergencies to us.
You can also find police advice to keep you safe and help you understand the law, and also browse our crime prevention pages for first-hand knowledge, industry best practices and practical crime prevention advice from officers and specialist teams all across the police.
Have you ever had a policing question that doesn't actually require direct police involvement to answer?
Ask the Police is a great online source of information for the most frequently asked policing questions, visit www.askthe.police.uk/ for more information.
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