Dartmoor© Adam Burton/Robert Harding/Rex

Devon and Cornwall Police have launched an operation to reduce thefts and fly-tipping incidents across Dartmoor.

Moorwatch is a multi-agency operation which aims to disrupt criminals operating in isolated rural areas, particularly at car parks and beauty spots surrounding the national parks.

The moor historically sees a seasonal rise in crime in the summer months as visitors flock to the region.

See also: Latest stories on rural crime on Farmers Weekly

The operation, which will run throughout the summer, will see dedicated neighbourhood policing teams mount regular high-visibility patrols to tackle a range of rural crimes common to the moorland.

They include thefts from vehicles, livestock theft, the antisocial use of vehicles, wildlife crime, theft of farm equipment and machinery, and fly-tipping, plus road safety issues.

“Rural crime is a priority that we are working hard to address. Although crime on the moor is relatively low in comparison to other parts of the country, the types of crime are very specific.”
Sergeant William Young

Sergeant William Young said: “Rural crime is a priority that we are working hard to address. Although crime on the moor is relatively low in comparison to other parts of the country, the types of crime are very specific.

“Tourists flock to the area in the summer and are vulnerable to car crime as they often leave vehicles in remote spots. Vehicle crime isn’t the only problem on the moor which also suffers from a range of crimes such as the theft of animals and farm equipment and fly-tipping.

“We will be maximising our visibility and presence with dedicated, targeted regular patrols of the area. By working with partner agencies we can maximise intelligence and increase our eyes and ears at vulnerable spots on Dartmoor.”

Police officers will be working closely with Dartmoor National Park Authority and other partner agencies to educate visitors as well as enforce the message that Dartmoor is not a place for criminals.

Sergeant Young added: “We would like to encourage users of the moor to report suspicious activity or incidents promptly to maximise our ability to deal with it effectively. When crime is reported we would like to assure people that we will do everything within our power to effectively bring offenders to justice.”