Off-road driver must pay Essex farmer £350 for damaging crops

A man has been ordered to pay £350 to an Essex farmer after he damaged crops by driving his 4×4 across a field.

Officers from Essex Police’s rural team arrested the 24-year-old after damage was caused to the field in Bardfield Saling.

The incident happened at about 8.30pm on Friday 10 July and the man was detained on suspicion of criminal damage and drug driving.

After talking to the owner of the land off Long Green Lane, it was agreed the offence of criminal damage could be dealt with through a community resolution. In this case, he was ordered to pay £350.

PC Matt Harkness, of Essex Police’s Rural Engagement Team (RET), said: “We received reports that a 4×4 was driving off road and had caused damage to a  farmer’s crops.

“The matter of criminal damage was resolved through a community resolution, with agreement and support from the owner of the land.

“This demonstrates how we use a wide range of powers to catch criminals and we will always keep the victim at the centre of what we do.”

The man remains under investigation for drug driving.

Rural crime

Rural crime rates have risen to their highest level for eight years, according to the latest figures, which show that farm theft is costing the sector £54m annually.

The cost of crime in the countryside rose almost 9% in just 12 months, the 2020 Rural Crime Report, published by NFU Mutual on Tuesday (4 August), has revealed.

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