Police join forces with farmers to beat rural crime

Police are working with the National Farmers Union (NFU) in a bid to cut rural crime in East Devon.

Police are working with the National Farmers' Union (NFU) in a bid to cut rural crime in East Devon.

The 'Stop a Thief' pilot scheme aims to reduce the theft of valuable machinery by loaning security equipment to farmers.

Farmers who have been targeted by burglars can borrow security alarms from the police and will be able to call 999 with a log number if an alarm on their property is activated.

From April 1, alarms will be in place on farm buildings around the rural areas of Honiton, Seaton and Axminster where the fear of crime is growing high within farming communities.

PC Clive Vickery, neighbourhood beat manager for rural Honiton, 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 created 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: "We've previously worked closely with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Dorset Police on several cross-border operations to reduce rural crime and this really highlighted the difference that can be made by targeting this type of criminal activity.

"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 were very keen to support the 'Stop A Thief' scheme and were pleased to be part of a pro-active approach to stop theft of this nature.

"We are really happy to be working with the local police to help farmers protect their property and stop rural crime."

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

If successful, the pilot can be rolled out to other areas so that more farming communities can yield the benefits of the scheme.

Any local businesses or members of the 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.