Move to stop rural thefts

Security call: PC Dave Shaw says officers have increased patrols around Garstang's estates
Security call: PC Dave Shaw says officers have increased patrols around Garstang's estates

Farmers and business owners are being invited back to college for lessons in crime prevention to help combat rural theft.

Officers from the Garstang Neighbourhood Police Team have joined the National Farming Union and a host of other organisations for a free event at Myerscough College in Bilsborrow.

The Rural Crime Prevention event is part of a new initiative to run alongside successful schemes, such as Farmwatch, and to help raise awareness over the importance of added security in the farming community.

PC Dave Shaw said the one-day event, on October 12, was open to all and stressed “the key thing to emphasise is crime prevention”.

He added the force had been successful in its use of e-mail and mobile phone warnings to keep farmers and others living in rural communities aware of suspicious individuals or vehicles, and they were now looking at other ways to work with farmers to keep their property secure.

He said: “The event is a chance for people to learn about the small steps you can take to prevent crime from happening.

“There are lots of actions we can take to make life much harder for rural criminals, and it doesn’t always involve costly high-tech measures.

“Farmers will have the opportunity to gain advice and watch demonstrations and we hope it will be a valuable experience for those who attend.”

In August, it was revealed rural crime across Garstang, Longridge and the rest of the county had cost farmers more than £2m in the past year.

Rural thieves have sparked an increase in the cost to farmers, with more than £5.1m of livestock and possessions being stolen across the North West in 2011 – an increase on the 2010 figure.

In July, more than £50,000 worth of Hitachi equipment was taken from a farm on Lancaster Road, Out Rawcliffe.

Police say the most common property targeted is quad bikes, tools and livestock. Vehicles, fuel and personal belongings have also been taken.

The drop-in event being held in the college’s new Mechanisation building will run on Friday, October 12, from 10am to 5pm, with talks taking place at 10.15am, 11.30am, 1.15pm and 2.15pm.