1. ITV Report

Lancashire: police crack down on rural crime

Lancashire Police crackdown on rural crime Photo: ITV

Criminals operating in the Lancashire countryside will once again be targeted by police as part of a week-long crackdown on rural crime.

The operation, codenamed Firecrest III, will begin on 14th October, and will see officers from Lancashire Constabulary conducting extra patrols; targeting suspected offenders; making visits to farms and rural businesses to offer crime prevention advice; and hosting community meetings as well as providing a police presence at rural events.

This summer the annual Rural Crime Survey revealed that ‘agri-theft’ across the UK has reached a five-year low, with the drop credited to the widespread use of high-tech security tractors and effective rural police operations such as Firecrest.

But while countryside thefts have dropped by almost 20% in a year, rural crime still cost Lancashire £1,300,000 in 2012.

Rural residents are being urged to continue making security a priority on their farms, businesses and homes, deterring both organised gangs and opportunist thieves as much as possible.

Throughout next week specialist wildlife officers and representatives from the Environment Agency, United Utilities, HMRC and other agencies will carry out enforcement activity including anti-poaching patrols, warrants and checks on places like scrap metal yards, local auction marts, ports and other key locations.

According to the Rural Crime Survey, the trend for items most commonly targeted by countryside thieves remains largely unchanged from last year with farm tools, ATV/quad bikes and oil/diesel cited as the most frequently stolen.

Commenting on the operation, Detective Superintendent Andy Webster from Lancashire Police said:

“I hope our activity, and that of our partner agencies, will send out a clear message to offenders that rural crime won’t be tolerated here in Lancashire. Offenders will be caught and put before the courts. I also hope our activity will go some way towards reassuring our rural communities that we are taking action to address their concerns.”