Brazen thieves have stolen metal fencing panels used to keep criminals off fields belonging to a crime-plagued farmer.

Berkshire farming company J Rayner & Sons director Colin Rayner said the thieves had stolen 15 of the metal fencing panels, which he had put up around farm fields over the summer in a bid to stop joyriders damaging his crops.

The farm staff was halfway through erecting up to 3.2km of 2.1m-high metal fencing around company farm fields at Berkyn Manor Farm, in Horton, Berkshire.

But after the thieves struck last Monday (24 September), the company has decided to pull all the fencing down for fear that more panels would be taken.

Mr Rayner said: “The thieves stole 15 Heras fencing panels overnight Monday, but they left the concrete feet behind.

“The concrete feet were held down with a steel rod which was driven into the ground. All the Heras fencing was double-bolted and pinned to the ground – but they still took it.

“We have decided to take it down while we are waiting to put up a new fence.”

A lack of police patrols during the night meant criminals could “do as they liked” in rural areas, he added.

“It is not the fault of local police in the area, it’s the fault of national politicians across all political parties and the chief constable, who thinks rural crime is not of a high priority,” he said.

Mr Rayner, who claims his business suffers a “crime a day”, was hoping to buy some of the metal fencing used for crowd control in the London Olympics to complete the job.

However, he is now looking at alternative options after Olympic officials offered him just a 10% reduction on the original price of the fencing.

Thames Valley Police local area commander supt Dave Gilbert said: “We are currently investigating the theft of metal fencing from J Rayner & Sons farm.

“Mr Rayner has been visited by the Neighbourhood Policing Team as part of this investigation and we would urge anyone who has any information about this incident or who has been offered such fencing to contact us on the non-emergency number 101.

“Rural crime is a priority for Thames Valley Police. Local police officers are working closely with the rural community in Windsor and Maidenhead and throughout Thames Valley Police area to reduce the incidence of this type of crime.”

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