A day of action against rural crime is being undertaken by police, including advice for farmers who are being targeted by offenders.
The National Rural Crime Day of Action today (8 November) involves police forces up and down the country who are showing their commitment to tackling rural issues.
It comes as banks issued renewed warnings that farmers could be targeted by fraudsters as basic payments start to arrive in bank accounts from next month.
The National Police Chiefs' Council are holding a Rural Crime Day of Action today. #Ruralcrime cost the UK an estimated £44.4m in 2017. Visit our campaigns for #Nottinghamshire county https://t.co/4oHoCQFj2X and NFU https://t.co/p457zrHgKD @PoliceChiefs @NFUtweets @RuralCrimeNtwk pic.twitter.com/lsx9UXqAns
— Crimestoppers (@CrimestoppersUK) November 8, 2018
As part of the day of action, Cheshire Police published a new strategy that outlines how it will tackle rural crime over the next three years.
It sets out five commitments to rural residents – including a pledge to ensure that every police community support officer (PCSO) is trained in tackling rural issues.
PCSOs will visit all farm premises in the county on an annual basis and each rural community is supported by two nights of rural action per year, says the strategy.
Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane said the strategy sets out a “real commitment” to supporting rural communities.
“Many of the crimes which occur in rural areas are unique and can have a major impact on not only their victims but their livelihoods as well,” he said.
Farmers are being urged to report crime, no matter how seemingly trivial the offence.
#Ruralcrime has a devastating effect on farming businesses and rural communities. Use our Rural Crime Reporting Line with @CrimestoppersUK to give information 100% anonymously on four common rural crimes. Visit https://t.co/Jg8iF5Du7B to find out more. pic.twitter.com/rMryK1WadO
— National Farmers Union (@NFUtweets) November 8, 2018
The Cheshire initiative has already increased the visibility of police in rural areas, added Mr Keane.
He said: “This strategy will further increase that visibility, with officers and PCSOs attending all major rural events and spending more time in rural communities to tackle road safety issues.
“While they are relatively safe already, I am confident that the priorities outlined in this strategy demonstrate our commitment to our rural communities and will make them even safer.”
Crimes such as farm theft, fly-tipping, hare coursing and livestock rustling are ongoing problems in many parts of the countryside.
In Scotland, livestock producers are introducing a new marking system in a bid to tackle the emerging problem of sheep theft in Perthshire.
But farmers are also falling victim to cyber crime.
— Johann Tasker (@johanntasker) November 7, 2018
Speaking at the Northern Farming Conference on Wednesday (7 November), HSBC head of agriculture Neil Wilson urged farmers to remain vigilant for fraudsters.
Farmers should be especially aware of scammers phoning them up and asking them to move money into separate bank accounts, said Mr Wilson.
Banks would never ask for PINs, passwords or other confidential information over the phone, Mr Wilson told conference delegates at Hexham auction mart.
Urging farmers to take care, Mr Wilson said some farmers had lost hundreds of thousands of pounds after divulging personal details to cyber criminals.