50 stolen tools and machines recovered in rural raid

More than 50 stolen tools and machines have been recovered following a police investigation into theft in rural areas.

A tractor, quad bike, mini digger, caravan and a trailer were among some of the items of machinery found at a property in Cross-in-Hand, near Heathfield, East Sussex.

Dozens of stolen tools were also found, including chainsaws, lawnmowers, trimmers, leaf blowers and an industrial woodchipper.

Stolen tools

© Sussex Police

See also: Warning after thieves target farm outbuildings

Officers from Sussex Police’s Prevention Enforcement Team (PET) executed the warrant at the premises on Tuesday 27 October as part of an ongoing focus to tackle those responsible for burglary in rural areas.

A number of the items have already been matched to reports of crime and their rightful owners have been contacted. Enquiries are ongoing to establish who the other items belong to.  

Leaf blower

© Sussex Police

Det Chief Insp Alasdair Henry, Wealden district commander, said: “This warrant is the culmination of extensive work by officers investigating burglaries and thefts of tools and machinery from farms in the rural areas of north Wealden as part of Operation Atlanta.

“This operation has helped us develop intelligence on criminals operating across Sussex and the wider south-east region.”

Thefts of power tools and machinery have a “devastating financial and emotional impact” on victims, as it often affects their jobs and livelihoods, he added.

“To recover more than 50 tools and machinery was a fantastic result and we are in touch with many of the rightful owners to get these items returned to them in due course.

“Our work continues now to find those people responsible for these crimes and hold them accountable for their actions.”

See also: 10 tips for farm crime prevention as clocks go back

Report all crime

Anyone who recognises any of the items pictured, or who may have any other information that could help with the investigation, is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 247 of 27/10.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue reporting rural crime and suspicious behaviour to police, so officers can build a picture of crime in the area and respond effectively.

Farmers are also urged to take photographs and note down details and serial numbers of their high-value items.

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