Rural election issues: Crime

In the run up to the General Election Farmers Weekly looks at five issues on minds of rural voters. Here arable farmer James Baird discusses crime.

James Baird
Arable farmer
Littlehampton, West Sussex

“To get my vote, the next government will have to be tougher on crime. Our workshop has been broken into twice in the past four weeks and it’s a recurring pattern in this area.

At the moment it’s all too easy for petty criminals who know the only punishment they will receive is a few hours’ community service.

The public’s perception that they have the freedom to roam anywhere must also be addressed by the next government. I don’t want to deny good people access, but public access needs to be more controlled. At the moment it is difficult to keep certain parts of the farm secure.

Fly-tipping is also a huge issue. At one point we had more than 100 car batteries dumped on our land, but the council refused to help remove them.

Fly-tipping has been driven by increasing landfill tax, meaning the fine for getting caught is a more attractive option than the cost of tipping.

Local councils need to work with landowners – after all, a tidy countryside will be beneficial to all.”

• For more election issues click here.