FARMERS IN Powys are being urged to join a crime prevention initiative operated by the County Council and police rural crime officers.

The free Ringmaster messaging scheme passes on local crime information reported to the police to community groups and businesses that could be targeted.

“It is a first class idea because it filters reports and only sends recorded messages or faxes to specific business groups like shops, factories or farmers,” said NFU Cymru policy adviser Kevin Owen.

“Unfortunately uptake by farmers has not been good so we are taking the initiative and plan to supply registration forms to every member who could benefit.

“Montgomeryshire branch has already agreed and 1200 forms are going out in the post. Now we hope that Brecon and Radnor branch will do the same.”

Arwel Hughes, Montgomeryshire NFU chairman, is urging all his members to complete and return their forms.

“With rural crime on the increase Ringmaster is an excellent method of getting messages out to various members of the community when the need arises,” he claimed.

“We as farmers need to be proactive and help ourselves and our neighbours by reporting crimes and suspicious activities, and by co-operating in the dissemination of relevant information.”

The union‘s decision to encourage farmers to sign up for the scheme in the largest county in Wales, which also has the greatest density of sheep numbers in the UK, comes in the week when a Farmers Union of Wales survey revealed a massive increase in livestock rustling.