Mid Ulster Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) is urging local farmers to be extra vigilant moving into the darker evenings to help deal with the growing problem of rural crime.
Rural Crime covers a wide range of crimes but includes theft of machinery, vehicles, heating oil, metal, diesel and pesticides. Thieves are known to target high-value agricultural equipment and many top-of-the-range stolen vehicles are stolen to order.
Chair of Mid Ulster PCSP, Cllr Frances Burton commented, “The PCSP treats rural crime as a high priority. We would encourage farmers to take the necessary precautions to ensure they do not become a victim of crime.
“The PCSP in partnership with PSNI Neighbourhood Teams and Crime Prevention Officers have held a number of trailer marking events throughout the district which farmers have found beneficial. Many local farmers have availed of this free of charge service to discourage the theft of trailers in the Mid Ulster area. A marked trailer is less attractive to an opportunist thief.”
Criminals generally target isolated areas and hard-to-protect buildings looking for easily sold items such as metal, gardening and agricultural machinery. Mid Ulster PCSP urge the public to:-
· Restrict access to your yard. Install gates, fix them to a sturdy concrete or metal post and keep them locked.
· Make your plant and equipment less attractive to thieves by making it more distinctive. Use livery stickers or paint your plant and equipment in corporate colours. Security devices such as Datatag marking or trackers should be considered as an option.
· Keep a register of plant and equipment, noting serial numbers, markings colour etc. Photographs are also a useful way of recording the scale of items.
· Store your tools and smaller machinery items in a building with enhanced security features close to the farmhouse.
· Fencing, hedges and walls should be robust, well maintained and checked regularly for breaches.
· Consider installing an alarm in vulnerable areas. An alarm will emit an audible warning and CCTV will provide surveillance on places out of view of the farmhouse. Illuminate areas which are overlooked from the dwelling or covered by CCTV.
· Don’t ignore suspicious or unusual activity. Always call 999 if a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.
· Don’t leave vehicles or buildings unlocked.
· Do not leave valuables in parked cars.
· Join Farm, and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
You can make a difference to your rural community.
If you have any suspicions, please contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
For more information contact the PCSP at Mid Ulster District Council on 03000 132 132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.