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Chief Constable supports rural crime prevention event

The Rural Affairs Unit ran an operation earlier this month to crack down on machinery and trailer theft.

The chief constable joined officers at a crime prevention event earlier this week to mark trailers and discuss rural crime.

Chief Constable Sarah Crew met with the Rural Affairs Unit (RAU) at Frome Market on Wednesday, where the team was fitting out trailer marking kits free of charge.

CC Crew even had a go herself at marking the trailers, a technique used to deter thieves and assist in identifying stolen machinery.

The RAU marked 23 trailers in the space of four hours, with each marking taking around 10 minutes.

Officers and the chief constable then joined representatives from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) for a question and answer session with members of the rural community.

PCSO Mike Storey (left) and Chief Constable Sarah Crew (right) marking trailers.
PCSO Mike Storey (left) and Chief Constable Sarah Crew (right) marking trailers.

Sarah said: “The impact of rural crime on its victims can be devastating. We’re determined to reduce rural crime through our work with partners, other services and victims of crime.

“One of the best ways to deter criminals is to ensure farm vehicles are marked using security or forensic markings. The same kind of markings which were available to members of the public on Wednesday.

“It was brilliant to see the great dedication of the Rural Affairs Unit officers and understand the impact machinery theft can have on a community. The event presented an interesting insight into the concerns of the public and their thoughts on rural crime.”

The crime prevention event comes after the Rural Affairs Unit carried out a joint operation with Wiltshire Police on Tuesday 13 June in the Frome area.

Officers carried out stops on vehicles with trailers, especially ones carrying machinery, to conduct security checks and confirming ownership.

During the operation, numerous vehicles and trailers were stopped and all appeared to be in order.

RAU Sgt Katie Maun said: “It was great to work with our colleagues at Wiltshire Police in this operation, focusing on cracking down on rural crime – especially the theft of machinery and trailers.

“Agricultural machinery and vehicle theft is one of the most prevalent types of rural crime, with the cost of stolen property running into the tens of millions each year.

“Theft of farm trailers, which are in high demand and relatively easy for thieves to steal, are among the most common items to be stolen.”

Crime prevention advice:

  • Remove keys and lock vehicles when not in use.
  • Store high value vehicles and equipment such as quad bikes / ATVs in a secure, alarmed building.
  • Secure valuable assets with a combination of wheel clamps, hitch locks and ground anchors.
  • Consider tracking devices for high value plant and machinery.
  • Security marked valuable assets with your postcode using heavy duty etchers or forensic property marking systems.
  • Keep a record of serial numbers and chassis numbers, as well as unusual features on the vehicle / plant. Record obvious damage and repairs which may help with identification.
  • Consider photographing vehicles, plant and machinery.
  • We recommend the use of security products which are compliant with the appropriate British Standard, in addition look for products that carry the Sold Secure or Secured by Design accreditation.

If you are a victim of rural crime, or suspect someone has committed a crime, make sure to report it. You can do this by calling 999 in an emergency (when it is an ongoing incident and there is a threat to life) or via the 101 non-emergency line. You can also report crimes via our website at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk