Rural crime seminar hailed a success

Britain’s biggest rural crime seminar has been hailed a success, by the organisers.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and co-hosts Crimestoppers’ reported that the Kettering Conference centre was packed with 300 delegates for the Closing the Gate on Criminality seminar.

The cross-section of farmers, police officials, insurers, security industry representative and politicians discussed ways to tackle the blight of rural crime.

Crimestoppers’ deputy chief executive Dave Cording said: “We were really pleased with the turnout on 10 November. It was also good to have the minister of state for policing and criminal justice speak – it shows how vital this issue is.”

“A key point made was that agricultural equipment costing up to £150,000 is being stolen, sometimes by organised criminals who can get it out of the country within 24 hours – and may leave the rightful owners unable to carry on their day-to-day work without the equipment. This strengthens our determination to “close the gate” on criminality in rural areas.

“The seminar covered many essential topics, including using new technology such as texting and social media to share vital information to fight rural crime. We also discussed the need for community involvement, and sharing of information and intelligence.”

Rural crime can include theft of farm machinery and equipment, oil, diesel, batteries, metal for scrap value, tools, quad bikes, agricultural chemicals, tractors, and livestock such as sheep. An estimated £50m to £70m worth of plant and agricultural machinery is stolen nationally every year, and only 5% of this stolen property is ever recovered.

Dave Cording added: “We understand that rural communities are close-knit and trust is an important part of rural life, so people may be aware of who are committing these crimes, perhaps a neighbour or work colleague, but don’t feel comfortable giving this information directly to the police. This is where Crimestoppers can help, by providing an anonymous service for people to pass on information about crimes.

“We were also very pleased to work with Woldmarsh, our supporters in Lincolnshire, at the seminar, as we are with all organisations with strong Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).”

Seminar exhibitor Jo Quelch, Woldmarsh marketing manager, said: “We were delighted to show our support, and also with the amount of interest we received.

“The seminar was a great opportunity for all of us to spread awareness as communities, partners, businesses and manufacturers,” said Ms Quelch.

She added that she hoped it was the beginning of many more equally successful events, as Woldmarsh continued to help empower communities to give information on this vital area of “closing the gate on rural criminality”.

Report crime on Farmers Weekly’s Crime Register