Cost of rural crime in Cambridgeshire revealed as police continues its mission to protect farmers

A Case International 856, similar to one stolen from a farm in Wisbech.

A Case International 856, similar to one stolen from a farm in Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

The cost of rural crime in Cambridgeshire last year was £1.7million, with domestic heating oil and ‘red diesel’ as well as tractors, machinery and trailers targeted by thieves.

This figure represents a 30 per cent drop from the previous year (£2.4million).

In the past year, Cambs Police has staged a number of covert operations to tackle seasonal offending, including Operation Tapner to protect farmers during the crucial harvest season. This involved identifying and protecting vulnerable sites against fuel and tractor theft.

Some 400 frontline police officers in the county have completed a training programme in partnership with farmers, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and Countryside Watch.

In the next few months, at the completion of the harvest, the force will be working with farmers to protect the property most at risk of theft in rural areas, including All Terrain Vehicles/quads and power tools.

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Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright said: “I’m encouraged by these new figures which show rural crime is having less impact on our economy than in previous years.

“However, rural criminality continues to be a big problem in Cambridgeshire threatening local livelihoods, putting pressure on scarce policing resources and increasing the fear of crime within our rural communities.

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“I wholeheartedly support the ongoing steps the Constabulary is taking to address this threat and drive down rural crime further.”

Stephen Hutchinson, NFU Mutual senior agent in Cambridgeshire, said: “That there’s been an overall decline in the cost of rural crime over the last 12 months is welcome news and reflects the huge efforts being made by communities and others to tackle this problem.

“Initiatives aimed at reducing livestock theft and installing CESAR tracking for agricultural vehicles are having a real impact and making life increasingly difficult for rural criminals.

“That said, problem areas remain and thieves continue to exploit weaknesses such as around ATVs and tools.

“So, while today’s survey contains some good news, it also highlights the need for rural communities to remain vigilant and put security at the forefront of their minds.”

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