Police join forces against rural crime

Police across three counties have joined forces in an operation targeting rural crime and poaching.

THe Operation Engage initiative brought together officers from Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire.

Two rural operations in August and early September saw over 130 vehicles stopped for various issues including vehicle defects.

Operation Engage aims to tackle rural crime  and saw officers involved from the local Community Policing Teams, Tri-Force, the volunteer Special Constabulary, Intel and further support from neighbouring forces Dorset and Hampshire police.

Day one of the first operation, which was organised by Salisbury PCSO Matthew Smith, saw a total of 35 vehicles stopped on Thursday 24 August with a further 73 vehicles stopped on the second day.

PCSO Smith said: “We want to reassure our rural communities, who can feel vulnerable due to their isolated locations, that we are working hard to disrupt and deter hare coursing and poaching in the county.

“Poachers and hare coursers have a considerable impact on the livelihoods of game keepers and farmers and we are committed to tackling the issue.

“Those involved in poaching and coursing are often from outside the county and are involved in other types of criminality too, such as theft of farm equipment.

"Operations like this are important to reinforce the message that Wiltshire is not a soft touch and we will not tolerate criminality within our rural communities.”

During the second operation, which Salisbury PCSO Nicola Clark led, a total of 35 vehicles were stopped for various offences.

Salisbury MP John Glenn, who has previously been vocal in the House of Commons regarding rural issues, attended the operation briefing to discuss the problems faced by the local farmers and gamekeepers there supporting the operation.

PCSO Nicola Clark said: "This was a really successful operation and it was useful to hear about the issues facing local farmers and gamekeepers in our rural communities.

"Wiltshire is a predominantly rural county and therefore operations like this are really important to our communities.

"I hope a heightened police presence in these areas has provided reassurance to those in our most rural areas that we are dedicated to tackling crimes that affect them the most."


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