Police van© Andrew McCaren/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

Police in North Yorkshire have launched a rural crime prevention drive targeting hundreds of farms and outlying businesses around the city of York.

Dubbed Operation Woodchip for rural businesses and Operation Woollen for farms, the campaign is described as the biggest rural crime prevention drive the city has ever seen.

Operation Woodchip will target more than 160 rural businesses, and Operation Woollen will target more than 230 farms.

See also: Farmers ‘bear brunt of £800m rural crime wave’

Police community support officers trained in rural crime prevention will visit farms and farmers will be sent a self-assessment questionnaire and information about crime prevention.

Police said North Yorkshire was “one of the safest places in the country, and York was a very safe city” in which to do business.

Isolated rural areas

But they warned isolated and rural areas were being frequently targeted by cross-border criminals, who travelled from outside North Yorkshire to commit crime.

PC Neil Slater said: “This campaign is all about making sure that we offer the same level of service to rural businesses that those in more urban areas receive.

“Vulnerability is one of our key areas of focus, and many rural premises are vulnerable because of their isolated location – so it’s important that we do everything we can to protect them.”

As part of the crime prevention drive, farmers are being encouraged to mark equipment using a tungsten carbide-tipped pin to create a visible, permanent unique number.

Dot peen number

This dot peen number is then entered on to the national Immobilise property register database, vastly increasing the chances kit will be reunited with its owner if it is lost or stolen.

PC Slater said: “The challenge of policing a large rural area means that we need to use a variety of tools and channels to keep people and businesses safe.

“We can offer businesses a crime prevention pack, sent through the post, as well as a free security survey by a trained expert.

Farmers are also being encouraged to sign up for North Yorkshire Community Messaging – a free system that lets people receive the latest crime notifications on their smartphones.