Rural crime: it’s ‘easy pickings’

Government urged to do more to stem rising tide of crime in countryside Thefts from smallholdings on the increase

Rural areas are becoming an easy target for criminals as police budget cuts make it more difficult for them to patrol the countryside, according to senior officers from the Association of Chief Police Officers. Now the Government has come under pressure to act.

The Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee, Anne McIntosh MP, has highlighted the issue, particularly the problem of sheep rustling.

“Rural crimes are just as much a crime and a breach of the law as any other crime. A rural crime should be detected and brought to justice so that those who commit them feel the full force of the law,” she said.

In other moves, Crimestoppers, the national crime-fighting charity, is teaming up with local volunteer committees, law enforcement agencies and rural partners to launch an innovative, social media campaign.

The ‘Scene it. Herd it. Speak up about it. Anonymously.’ message will mainly be spread via social media using Facebook, twitter and local alert systems in order to reach deep into rural communities. The public will be directed to a web page which discusses aspects of rural crime.

Smallholders are also becoming more of a target, according to the website www.stolenandstray.co.uk

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Spokeswoman Stephanie Kent-Nye said: “We have recently had some disturbing cases that show an increase in the theft of working dogs and animals from smallholdings.”