Thieves target arable farm for 11th time

A Lincolnshire farmer whose business has been targeted by thieves 11 times in just over three years is calling for greater protection from police.

In the latest burglary at Belle Vue Farm, in Springthorpe village, near Gainsborough, thieves had the audacity to smash through a three-brick deep workshop wall to steal a red Honda quad bike.

The quad bike – one of three Hondas stolen from the farm in the past 18 months – was chained to a stanchion and locked inside a steel cage. But even that didn’t prevent the theft.

“I bought the bike second hand for £3,500 because I no longer see the point of buying a new one because they just get stolen all the time,” said 32-year-old tenant farmer Charles Anyan.

“Luckily, I’m insured. I would like to thank NFU Mutual for their understanding.

“I have been targeted 11 times in the just over three years and 11 times police have shelved the case as ‘undetected’.

“In Lincolnshire, tractor thefts and hare coursing is down. But that doesn’t make me feel any better on my farm.”

Thieves had made two previous bungled attempts to steal the quad bike, before they managed to take it on 5 January.

Following the latest burglary, Mr Anyan is once again reviewing security on the 332ha arable unit. “CCTV is something I’m looking at now. I need to seriously think again about the security of my property,” he said.

But he also called for greater protection and co-operation from police.

“I would like to see Lincolnshire Police work closely with farmers to take these people off the streets,” said Mr Anyan.

“The police and farmers need to join together to make a more robust defence against these people. They are criminals and should be treated accordingly.

“The odds are stacked very firmly in favour of the criminal these days – and that’s unacceptable.”

Mr Anyan, an NFU regional crops board delegate, is working with the NFU to try to secure talks with Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick about the crime epidemic blighting the farm.

In other previous unsolved crimes, raiders have burgled a rented home on the farm site and stripped it of copper, burgled his farm home, stolen chainsaws and farm tools, and siphoned off diesel from tanks and tractors.

Mr Anyan urged farmers to report all crimes affecting their farms, to give police a better picture of the scale of rural crime.

Inspector Simon Outen, community policing inspector for West Linsey, said: “Lincolnshire Police are aware of the burglaries that Mr Anyan has unfortunately suffered and the extensive security methods he has put in place.

“Regrettably despite his efforts, the offenders have shown themselves to be determined to force entry to the property, and we share his frustrations and anger.

“The offences remain under active investigation, with Lincolnshire Police seeking to secure sufficient evidence to bring the offenders to justice.

“We will continue to explore any other options that are available to prevent further offences or develop leads in the existing investigations.

“Recently a number of arrests have been made in the West Lindsey area for burglary offences, and local police remain determined to arrest and prosecute offenders whenever there is sufficient evidence to do so.”

Insp Outen added: “We would continue to encourage farmers and the local community to report offences so that we can identify offending patterns and target our resources appropriately and with maximum effect.”

For more on crime visit our rural crime web page