Rural crackdown is a huge success

Vehicle seized in Carnforth as part of Operation Firecrest
Vehicle seized in Carnforth as part of Operation Firecrest

More than £16,000 property was recovered and 16 arrests made in a police crackdown on rural crime.

Lancashire Constabulary hailed the week-long Operation Firecrest a success, after action was aimed at cutting-down rural theft of livestock and property across the area.

Police stop-checked 688 vehicles, seizing six of them and made 16 arrests for a variety of offences, including theft and poaching.

More than 55 rural crime suspects were visited and handed warning letters and officers also visited 22 scrapyards as part of the county-wide operation which ran from October 1 to 7.

At a police check point in Carnforth, officers seized three vehicles – two were found to have no insurance and another was found to be running on red diesel.

Insp Jim Edmonds said: “Crime is generally low in rural areas but criminals can try to take advantage of the remoteness of some communities, believing they may not be seen as they carry out their illegal activities.

“As has been shown during this operation, we are committed to tackling rural crime. Every rural area has a dedicated neighbourhood policing team, responsible for working with local communities to prevent and detect crime.

“We are also working with partners like the National Farmers Union and Trading Standards to target criminals.”

In addition, officers made 161 crime prevention visits to farms and other rural properties
countywide, produced a special farm watch crime prevention video and signed up dozens of new members to rural watch schemes ensuring that the fight against rural crime continues.

Lancashire Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates said: “The initial results from Operation Firecrest are encouraging both in terms of targeting offenders and providing reassurance to local rural communities.”

“We made numerous arrests and seized a variety of vehicles so enquiries are still ongoing but I am confident that the operation has sent a clear message to people involved in rural crime that both police and communities will not tolerate this type of behaviour.

“I am also tremendously encouraged by the support we’ve received from rural communities throughout the operation.

“They have readily taken on board crime prevention advice and seem very keen to join to local rural watch and farm watch schemes in a bid to help us combat crime in future.”

Anybody who would like to speak to an officer to discuss concerns about rural crime or report suspicious activity that they have seen and not yet reported should contact local police on 101.

Anyone who would like advice on how to reduce the risk of crime can view a special crime prevention clip on the Lancashire Police Youtube channel: