NATIONAL crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers has launched a social media campaign against rural crime.
The initiative sees the Crimestoppers team up with local volunteer committees, law enforcement agencies and rural partners across the country.
Supporters are urging the public to help protect rural communities from the damaging effects of crime.
Rural theft cost the UK an estimated £42.3m in 2012 and can have far reaching consequences for communities in terms of the impact that this can have on the food chain, deliveries and supermarket prices.
The 'Scene it. Herd it. Speak up about it. Anonymously' message will predominantly 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 webpage which discusses aspects of rural crime such as poaching, hare-coursing, theft of oil, metal and machinery.
It also highlights what people need to look out for and how to safely give information anonymously via Crimestoppers.
The charity will also be hosting a blog which can be found at www.blog.crimestoppers-uk.org that will see contributions from those affected by and tackling rural crime.
Simon Prince, chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police is also the national policing lead for rural and wildlife crime.
"Crime affecting rural communities should never be underestimated; it can have a devastating impact on people and businesses," he said.
"Criminals target isolated areas and hard to protect buildings looking for easily saleable items such as metal, gardening and agricultural machinery.
"By appealing for more eyes and ears across the countryside, telling the public what signs to look for and urging them to contact the Crimestoppers anonymous service, we can tackle these criminal gangs head on."
The crime-fighting charity will raise awareness of rural crime issues by utilising the positive relationships it has with a number of partners.
These include NFU Mutual, Sainsbury's and Northern Powergrid as well as organisations such as the NFU, English Heritage, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network.
A survey undertaken by NFU Mutual in 2012 found that an estimated 70% of rural crimes are planned - which means someone, somewhere, knows who is behind these offences.
Crimestoppers operations director Roger Critchell said: "No-one has anything to fear by contacting Crimestoppers as you will remain anonymous – no personal information is taken.
"Calls are not traced or recorded and you will not have to go to court or give a statement to the police. In the 26 years that Crimestoppers has been running we have never broken our promise of anonymity."
Anyone with information or suspicions concerning criminal activity in the rural community should ring the Crimestoppers national 24/7 telephone number on 0800 555 111 or contact the Crimestoppers charity via its Anonymous Online Form.
Sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates.