Wednesday, 27 April 2016 07:21

Police trained against rural crime

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Police trained against rural crime

POLICE in Lancashire have received special training in the fight against rural crime.

The aim is to help curtail theft of plant and farm machinery – including tractors, excavators and other equipment.

Officers from across the county have attended training courses to recognise tell-tale signs that might indicate a piece of machinery is stolen.

The training took place on site at Wilson's Farming in Samlesbury, near Preston. Owner Harry Wilson said plant theft had a massive impact on rural businesseses.

"It can put our whole livelihoods at risk so it is really important that we all work together to stop it from happening."

Rural crime cost an estimated £800m last year, according to figures from the National Rural Crime Network.

Officers were able to examine various machines so they know what to look for when they come across vehicles they suspect as being stolen.

Practical and classroom training sessions were led by DC Chris Pigott from the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) and Clive Harris from NFU Mutual.

Lancashire's rural crime and wildlife coordinator Lorraine Ellwood said it was first time officers had received training in the county on such a scale.

"It is something we will look to continue doing.

"Lancashire is not a soft touch – we have big expanses of rural areas to look after and we are really keen on cracking down on this."

She added: "We are going to be it making very hard for those criminals insistent on committing this type of crime.

"We are not sitting back - we are doing something about it."

DC Pigott from NaVCIS said police had teams of people specifically to search for and identify any machinery that had been reported stolen.

Developing ways of making machines unique and identifiable which in turn would make it more and more difficult for people to move equipment on when it had been stolen.

Clive Harris from NFU Mutual said: "The more we can get out and do the training, the better.

"We need to get as many officers and staff trained up to know what to look for as part of their day to day role – this isn't a specialist, one off event.

"We want officers to be constantly vigilant and looking out for anything suspicious."

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