Added on 08 August 2017 at 15:39
We have had some successes in relation to rural crime in the past few weeks - largely due to members of the public!
We have arrested two men and a woman on suspicion of theft after people responded to alerts we put out via our Farm and Neighbourhood Watch system.
On 29 July, we circulated an alert asking for observations for a stolen car, which we had also linked to thefts from vehicles parked in beauty spots around the Mendips.
A member of the public called us the next day after they had seen the car in West Pennard. The vehicle was found and seized as a result, but the three occupants had left in another stolen vehicle.
We put out an update, via the alerts system, to confirm the first car had been located but requested further information and observations for the second vehicle. A member of the public called us a few hours later to say they had seen it. The van was located and, after a pursuit with a third stolen vehicle, three people were arrested.
Supt’ Mike Prior, who holds the lead for Rural Crime, said: “I would like to thank the public for responding in such a timely and effective way to our community alerts.
“This successfully demonstrates how effective we can be when the police and the public work together. It’s been said time and again, but it is true – you are our eyes and ears. Please keep talking to us. We will endeavour to supply you with quick and up-to-date information so we can continue to work together to prevent and detect rural crime.”
In August a theft, of what would have been a significant number of sheep, was foiled by the installation of some crime prevention equipment.
A farmer near Somerton had installed an alarm system to his gates and electric fences after he was the victim of livestock theft a few years ago.
At approximately 11.30pm on 2 August, his alarm system was triggered and he and several colleagues arrived in the fields shortly afterwards and saw several people, with a Landrover and trailer at the far end of the field, clearly having rounded up an entire flock.
The would-be thieves tried to get out of the field but when they couldn’t find a way out they crashed through a barbed-wire fence, which ripped off their number plate. This matched the trailer that they had left in the field, which turned out to be stolen and was returned to the rightful owner. The Landrover was discovered sometime later.
Supt’ Prior added: “It is significant that this farmer didn’t lose his livestock, particularly as he had been a victim of theft previously, and was mainly down to his diligence and determination to stop thieves striking again.
“The sheep had been previously roaming in the field but had been corralled into the far corner by the offenders and the land rover and trailer had been positioned ready to load the sheep. However, in this case it does go to show that these crime prevention methods and security equipment can be highly effective.
“We were also extremely pleased to be able to return the trailer to the rightful owner. A 2010 Landrover is still unclaimed, so if you have had one stolen, please get in touch and quote reference number 5217176991.
“My teams in Somerset are committed to preventing and detecting all forms of crime that impact on our rural communities – be that livestock theft, burglary or theft from cars.
“By working together, employing some crime prevention measures and communicating effectively we can disrupt and deter criminals and bring people to justice. Please keep working with us.”