Police in Garstang have been given a boost in their fight against rural crime after a free event sparked a surge in membership to the Farmwatch initiative.
More than 200 farmers and business owners visited Myerscough College for a day of talks and demonstrations given by officers from Lancashire Constabulary’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit and DataTag.
The event marked the end of a major police operation to crackdown on rural crime.
More than 55 rural crime suspects were visited during the week-long Operation Firecrest, which aimed to reduce farm thefts and other offences, including poaching.
PC Dave Shaw, of Garstang Police, helped organise the event at Myerscough College’s engineering centre and said the neighbourhood policing team had been impressed with the support from local farmers and businesses.
He said: “This was a very successful event and we were pleasantly surprised by the turnout.
“The workshop attracted people from across the county and we received some excellent feedback from farmers and others who attended.
“Many of the members from our Farmwatch scheme came along to the demonstrations and many more have now signed up to the scheme.
“We are hoping we can now run the event annually and want to thank Myerscough College for helping us host the day.”
The event was also an opportunity for Garstang PCSO John Holland to introduce the new Horsewatch project.
Many horseowners are now signing up to the programme, part of a national scheme which tags and postcodes horse tack and equipment.
PCSO Pete Wood, from Lune Valley, also attended the day to give a talk on poaching across the area.
Farmwatch was launched by the Garstang neighbourhood policing team in 2010 and now has over 400 members, including farmers, stable owners and country businesses from across the district. Its success in the area led to the scheme being set-up county wide.
The community operation, allows officers to share information via email and text message alerts to all those signed up to a central database.
Information of any suspicious behaviour or recent crimes is sent out to contacts, so that they can take the necessary precautions to keep their land and property safe.
Anyone wanting more information on Farmwatch and Horsewatch should contact Garstang police on 01995 607869.