30/05/2013 - Rural Crime
Rural crime crackdown
nets Ribble Valley thieves
A POLICE crackdown on rural crime in the Ribble
Valley has been hailed a success.
The six-week operation has been a joint effort
between Lancashire Constabulary, the Forestry Commission, the Environment
Agency and the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association, which represents
anglers in the Ribble, Hodder and Calder catchment areas.
Officers carried out both highly visible and
covert patrols in rural areas whilst visiting farms, rural businesses and
auction marts. Over £20k suspected stolen property, including a Land Rover and
a number of transit vans, were seized during the crackdown.
Over 50 roadside checks were carried out to
identify travelling criminals and to deter the theft of livestock and plant
Farmers, landowners and gamekeepers were
encouraged to work with the police to help identify, disrupt and deter criminals
targeting the countryside through initiatives like Farm Watch and Rural Watch.
A total of eight people were arrested for
offences ranging from theft of a Land Rover to the theft of eggs and going
equipped to steal. A 25-year-old man has since admitted stealing the Land
Rover, which was parked outside a pub in Hurst Green, Clitheroe on the
evening of 4 March. The offender pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicle
taking when he appeared at Burnley Crown Court recently.
In addition, three people have been given fines
and a further three people are due to appear in court charged with
going equipped to steal and a further three people are on police bail.
Despite the success of the operation, police are
warning that the fight against rural crime will continue and are urging local
residents in the rural areas to be vigilant and report anything
suspicious to the police.
Sgt Dave Simpson who co-ordinated the operation
said: “Whilst the operation has only been running for six weeks we have had
some really great results and have seen rural crime reduce.”
Geographic Inspector Graham Lister added: “We
used a mixture of traditional policing methods with more high tech ANPR
technology which helps to track vehicles used by known rural crime offenders.
"Our aim was to arrest those who came into
the Ribble Valley to commit crime or at the very least disrupt their activities
by seizing the vehicles they used. I am pleased with the support and comments
of our partners in this operation."
"I hope it has sent a clear message to
people involved in rural crime that both police and communities will not
tolerate this type of behaviour and will work together to identify those
involved and bring them to justice."
"We will continue to focus our activities
on those criminals who persistently target rural areas so that we can reduce
even further the number of victims affected by these crimes."
A partner agency member who went out on
patrol with police officers added: "We have been out on multi agency
patrols with the police to support their efforts to combat rural crime and
poaching and have been impressed with results of the operation."
"On one occasion we saw first-hand what
powers the Police have to disrupt suspected rural crime offenders. They
stopped one target of the operation and they were able to search and seize his
vehicle, as the suspect did not have any vehicle insurance."
Anyone with information or concerns about rural
crime can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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