New initiative to tackle crime in rural East Devon

A NEW scheme has been set up by police to combat crime in rural East Devon, following a spate of repeat burglaries.

A NEW scheme has been set up by police to combat crime in rural East Devon, following a spate of repeat burglaries.

In a bid to reduce the theft of valuable machinery, officers are working alongside the National Farmers' Union (NFU) on pilot scheme 'Stop a Thief.'

Farmers can loan security equipment and borrow security alarms from the police, which will enable them to call 999 with a log number if an alarm on their property is activated.

Alarms have already been put on farm buildings around the rural areas of Honiton, Seaton and Axminster .

PC Clive Vickery, neighbourhood beat manager for East Devon and creator of the scheme, said: "Repeat burglaries from farm outbuildings is a significant problem in these areas.

"With 'Stop A Thief', we hope to make our rural areas safer and deter criminals who think they can continue to steal high value farm equipment from these communities."

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PC Vickery set up the 'Stop A Thief' scheme after the success of several joint police operations last year to deal with rural burglaries and theft from farm outbuildings and sheds in the area.

He added: "By introducing a dedicated scheme to East Devon, we hope to not only stop burglars but also to educate farmers on the benefits of securing their outbuildings and encourage them to update their own security equipment."

The alarms have been jointly funded by the National Farmers' Union, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and the East and Mid Devon Community Safety Partnership.

Dawn Venner from the National Farmers' Union, said: "The members of the East Devon Group of the National Farmers Union are very pleased to be working with the local police in an attempt to help combat rural crime, which seems to be an ever increasing problem."

Alarms will be allocated by local police officers who will assess the vulnerability of farm properties in these areas.

If successful, the pilot could spread to other areas so that more farming communities.

* The local farming community who want to support the 'Stop A Thief Scheme' can make donations to help purchase further security equipment by contacting: Dawn Venner or Nicky Robson at NFU Honiton Office, Manor House, High Street, Honiton, EX14 1LJ.