Rural crime in Devon and Cornwall has fallen by almost 9% over the past year after the introduction of a scheme to improve farm crime prevention.
Bucking the national trend for increased countryside crime, latest police figures from the region revealed almost 5000 fewer crimes were reported between April 2008 and March 2009.
About 57,000 rural crimes were reported in the region in the same period the previous year.
The decline comes after Devon and Cornwall police introduced a range of measures to tackle a spate of opportunist crimes and a growing number of thefts of quadbikes and other machinery.
As well as launching a Farmwatch scheme, police teams introducted a crime prevention and properly marking initiative to deter thieves.
Devon and Cornwall police said it had also improved the way local rural police teams used traffic, dog and air support when crimes had been committed
Superintendent Kevin Harris, police commander for North Devon, said: “We are working very closely with our rural community, in particular the farmers and agricultural contractors, to prevent and reduce crime through property marking schemes, use of Crime Prevention Panel Volunteers and the Special Constabulary to make premises more secure and uniquely mark valuable equipment.
“Unfortunately on a number of occasions however, expensive equipment and vehicles are being left with keys in the ignition and present an ideal opportunity for those seeking to steal such valuable items and leave the area.
“We have been successful in reducing these crime types and also have caught offenders on our area doing such things.”