WELSH FARMING unions have welcomed the decision of North Wales Police to reinstate the post of rural intelligence officer.

Months of lobbying the force not to scrap the job because it would save money have paid off, and a new specialist agricultural officer will be in post this summer.

He or she will work closely with community beat managers on rural issues and provide specialised intelligence on farming, including expertise on animal identification marks.

The unions hope the new officer will cultivate a close mutually beneficial relationship with farming communities and provide their members with crime prevention ideas.

On May 7 farmers from north Wales will be able to take machinery, quad bikes and trailers to Dolgellau Market to be marked with unique reference numbers.

Police will then be able to use the number to check ownership using their database.

There are also plans to develop a Ringmaster computerised system for disseminating information on rural crimes and incidents.