Berkshire farmer suffers ‘a crime a day’

Berkshire farmer Colin Rayner claims his business suffers “a crime a day” and has branded the latest NFU Mutual farm crime figures a “gross underestimate”.

Berkshire farmer Colin Rayner claims his business suffers “a crime a day” and that the latest NFU Mutual farm crime figures grossly underestimate farm crime in his area.

“A 6% increase in farm crime in the past year? The figure is more like 25%,” said Mr Rayner, commenting on the NFU
Mutual crime figures.

Mr Rayner, who owns Berkyn Manor Farm in Horton and manages 1,000ha of farmland across the county, said he deals on average with one crime a day, ranging from fly-tipping to vehicle theft and damage to crops.

“As a farmer, I feel abandoned in the countryside,” said Mr Rayner. “We have a crime a day on our farm and the police don’t care.

“We have lots of meetings with the police, but there is no action. And while we are in meetings the criminals are out committing crimes. Let’s stop going to meetings and start catching criminals.”

Mr Rayner believes the same people – about “0.1% of the community” – are committing the crimes but the police still fail to catch them.

He has become so disillusioned with his local police force that he has stopped reporting crimes.

“I’ve sent so many emails to the police that they have labelled me a ‘vexatious complainer’,” he said.

“If you report a crime, a police officer will come out and take a statement, which takes two hours. But when they go away, they do nothing about it.”

In an effort to combat crime on his farms, Mr Rayner has installed electronic gates and a sophisticated CCTV system, which allows him to log on and view his fields from anywhere in the world.

Currently, he is in the process of erecting two miles of Heras security fencing around his fields to prevent motorbikers flattening his crops.

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police urged Mr Rayner to report crimes, adding “otherwise we do not have a clear picture of what is going on in our communities”.

“Mr Rayner speaks regularly our rural crime inspector Pete Dalton and we will continue to work with him to tackle rural crime together,” the spokesman said.

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