As some of you will have seen in the press- last month we re-launched the RCAT. I’m pleased to say that they have had a very busy first month. The below is the rural crime newsletter from the RCAT Inspector Dick Turner. Hare coursers arrested, fuel-cheats caught and a big clamp down on stolen trailers. Not bad for a first month…
Chief Inspector Sutherland- Force Lead Rural Crime.
April 2015, 20 reported incidents.
April 2016, 53 reported incidents. Of those reported we responded on immediate grade to 24 incidents, 6 were responded too under a prompt grade, 5 were other force reports and remainder were repeat calls for incidents already reported.
Last month highlighted a problem in the Thorney area. This appeared to move to the south of the county towards the end of the month. We have noticed that of the incidents reported the ‘offending’ is happening towards the end of the day in to early evening. In response RCAT officers have moved their start / end times to match this pattern.
The good news is that 10 people have been stopped and reported/summonsed for hare coursing offences. Other investigations remain live so hopefully this number will increase.
We have had a further 6 trailer thefts this month. Although the thefts have occurred across the force area they are slightly higher in the Fenland area than in other areas. Trailer types vary from small farm trailers to caravans from driveways.
RCAT carried out a joint operation last Monday at Cheffins auction site at Sutton with partners from HMRC and DVSA. The operation focussed on not only trailer theft but also vehicles using red diesel. In total officers checked 52 cars and 32 trailers. One of those trailers has been identified as possibly stolen but need more investigation. Officers were able to highlight this increase and give appropriate security advice to prevent further losses and victims.
The operation identified two vehicles using red diesel for which the drivers received on the spot fines of over £500 each.
Other offences identified were defective tyre, 1 x prohibition for unsafe vehicle, 1 x illegally tinted windows, 1 x no insurance (vehicle seized), 1 x no MOT, 2 X no seat belts and 2 x using mobile phone.
We have seen a spate of metal thefts from Churches over the last few weeks. In total there have been 6 reports of lead theft from church roofs with one church being attacked on two occasions. These unscrupulous thieves have no consideration for the cost of replacement and repairs or the huge risk it creates for possible internal damage to the church from wind and rain once the lead has been stripped off. The RCAT team have been in touch with the Diocese and have conducted visits to as many churches as possible telling them about the recent thefts and encouraging them to review their security.
We are asking everyone to be vigilant around church buildings. Report any suspicious vehicles and activity around church yards particularly at night. Offenders, we believe, have not only completed reconnaissance before committing the thefts but they have moved lighting away from the direction of the buildings to avoid detection. If you are up late at night or early morning and a drive by your local church isn’t an inconvenience please do it and report anything suspicious.
Below is an example from a recent theft showing what thieves have been leaving after their activity leaving it open to the elements and further damage.
Officers from RCAT attended a fly grazing conference hosted by colleagues in Hertfordshire. This comes following legislation changes within the Animal Act 1971 and Control of Horses Act 2015. The changes will impact upon Local Authorities primarily, as they have primacy for dealing with such incidents, but also the responsibility of land owners when such an incident is reported. We are working out the finer detail with our partners to put in place a process everyone agrees too and understands.
Rural Crime Conference
Sgt. Jackson and I attended the National Rural Crime Conference this week hosted by NFU Mutual in Northamptonshire. The conference theme was ‘Utilising Technology in the prevention of crime’. The conference was opened by Chief Constable Simon Prince from Dyfed Powys who holds the National Portfolio for Rural Crime and really emphasised the importance of rural crime.
We saw presentations on crime prevention and security marking from Selecta-DNA and CESAR Datatag scheme and also how Police and owners can make best use of technology in preventing and detecting crime through modern alarms, cameras and lighting. Whilst the idea is not rocket science, the pace technology moves on is breath taking so if you have not completed a security review recently its worth just assessing what can be done at a reasonable fee to give you added protection. Our colleagues from Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch will be more than happy to assist as will any of my RCAT officers.
Kind regards Insp Dick Turner