A Cambridgeshire farmer is helping police to get a better understanding of rural crime by hosting officer training days on his farm.

James Peck invited more than 40 police officers from South Cambridgeshire police force on to his farm after his business was repeatedly targeted by thieves and vandals.

Mr Peck, who farms at PX Farms in Dry Drayton, realised officers had little understanding of the kind of crime which took place in rural areas, or the impact it could have on farm businesses.

By improving their knowledge of the agricultural sector, Mr Peck hoped police would be able to work more closely with farmers to find ways to reduce crime and catch criminals.

“I want to narrow the gap between the rural sector and the police,” Mr Peck said. “I have a good relationship with the police, but when we have a problem they don’t understand: They don’t know what’s been stolen or what’s not right.”

Mr Peck said his farm had been hit by a spate of burglaries, with thieves taking things from gas bottles and fuel to satellite steering equipment worth £10,000.

His crops had also been left damaged following two illegal raves, where people had trampled fields and left bottles and gas canisters strewn around.

“I wanted the police to understand what we have to deal with, so by having them on the farm for training days I thought it would help them to learn about rural businesses,” Mr Peck said.

“We had five groups on the farm and we looked at things from tractors, immobilisers and alarms, Cesar tags and how to identify different machinery and different makes.”

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“I wanted the police to understand what we have to deal with, so by having them on the farm for training days I thought it would help them to learn about rural businesses.”
James Peck, South Cambridgeshire farmer

The officers also did mock call-ins so they could understand what information they needed to collect from farmers, and learnt how to do machinery checks using the Cesar tagging system.

“We realised that they needed completely educating about rural crime, they didn’t know what it was or how to define it,” Mr Peck said.

“I think it was really important to get them to look at farming, to understand what we do and how much some of the machinery and kit is worth. We’ve had excellent feedback from the police and I hope its a relationship we can continue to build.”

A Cambridgeshire force spokesman said the training days were an excellent way of educating officers about rural crime.

The force hoped the training format would be rolled out to other areas across the county, he added.

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