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Two men charged following high value farm thefts

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Two men have been charged following a series of high value thefts from farms in West Somerset last year.

Jeffery Hughes, 44, and Gareth Hayward, 20, were both charged on Tuesday 30 March 2021 with conspiracy to steal in connection with a number of thefts of quad bikes and trailers between 17 June and 12 July 2020.

The pair were additionally charged with the theft of a 4×4 vehicle from a garage in Williton on 3 January 2020.

Individually, Hayward was also charged with theft of an Ifor Williams trailer from a farm in Chilton Polden on 11 July 2020, and Hughes with theft and handling of an Ifor Williams cattle box trailer from a farm in Puckington on 7 June 2020.

Both were bailed to appear at Taunton Magistrates Court on Thursday 29 April 2021.

The charges follow an operation to tackle organised rural crime, led by Sedgemoor Neighbourhood Policing Team in partnership with Avon and Somerset’s Rural Affairs Unit and Operation Remedy.

Somerset Area Commander Mike Prior said: “This has been a true partnership of policing activity, ensuring a thorough, intelligence-led investigation which has resulted in the disruption of serious criminal enterprise, and enabled the recovery of high value stolen property farming equipment.

“I’d like to extend my thanks to members of the Somerset Farm Watch community for being our ‘eyes and ears’, contributing vital intelligence which has played a key role in bringing these offenders to justice.”