New campaign launched to tackle rural crime in Cumbria

A new campaign has been launched to tackle rural crime.

An appeal has been launched for anonymous information on rural crime in Cumbria by charity Crimestoppers.

The group is encouraging people to play their part in stopping rural crime.It has said that rural crime is "repetitive and organised" and wants visitors to report what they see and hear.

In the year to April 2021, Crimestoppers - a group set up in 1988 which receives anonymous reports of crime - received nearly 2,700 national anonymous reports about rural crime. This is a 14 per cent increase on the year before but the charity has said it also suggests there is some under-reporting.

Insurer NFU Mutual has recently estimated that rural theft cost the UK £43.3m in 2020 and the North West region £3.7m.

The key themes of this campaign will focus on wildlife crime, environmental crime and theft. Initially, it will explore hare coursing, poaching and badger baiting, with advice on how to spot the signs.

The charity has also committed to sharing prevention advice and hearing from organisations who work with the police and other partners to prevent and solve these crimes.

Gary Murray, North West Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: 

“Every day we hear from people who are in the know about those involved in damaging our beautiful countryside, but there is so much more we can do. By telling us anonymously what you know, whether you live or are visiting rural areas, your information can help make all the difference.

“A team of professionals working at our charity’s UK contact centre anonymise all information received – to ensure the person giving the details is never identified - before passing it on to police to investigate. Your voice really can make a difference. Working together, we can help protect our precious Cumbrian countryside and rural environment, communities and business from the harm caused by these criminal gangs.”

His comments were echoed by Peter McCall, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cumbria.

He said: “Cumbria is a mostly rural county therefore rural crime has a huge impact on our residents and businesses. The police do the best job possibly to tackle and prevent rural crime but without information and reporting there is only so much officers can do.

“Locals know their area better than anyone and can spot changes others may miss – which is why local reports are so important. This is why I am supporting the Crimestoppers campaign to encourage reporting especially anonymously.

“I would urge anyone to report any crimes they witness to 101, 999 in an emergency, or anonymously to Crimestoppers. Together we can all make Cumbria an even safer place to live.”

Crimestoppers can be contacted on 0800 555111 or through the charity's website. It has stated that computer IP addresses are never traced and, for telephone calls, there is no caller line display, no 1471 facility and the charity has never traced a call.