Young farmers in Cumbria trained in measures aimed at tackling rural crime

Young farmers in Cumbria are to be offered the opportunity to play a key role in helping to keep farming and rural communities safe.

Training will be provided in forensic property marking, and a 'Trespass scheme' which had been used previously to prevent people who have been found on private land and suspected of being involved in rural crime.

The initiative was developed by Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association (NWA) and Cumbria YFC County Chair.

Joe Murray, Chair of Cumbria Neighbourhood watch, said:"Farms and the wider rural communities in Cumbria have increasing become targets of criminals in recent times."

Robbie Tuer, Cumbria YFC County Chair, said: "Our young farmers are the present and the future of Cumbria and will play an active and vital role in the development of farming and agriculture in the years to come.

"Through the support and guidance offered by this Initiative our farming and rural communities and the people who live and work within them will have the opportunity to develop and thrive in a safe and secure environment".

NFU Mutual estimates that rural theft cost the UK £43.3m in 2020 - a 20% decrease on the previous year.

In their Rural Crime Report of 2021, the cost of rural theft around the UK in 2020 is as follows:

East - £6.4m

Midlands - £7.9m

North East - £7.8m

North West - £3.7m

Northern Island - £2.1m

Scotland – £1.7m

South East – £7.1m

South West – £5.1m

Wales - £1.6m

The initiative is being supported by national partners including NFU Mutual, Crimestoppers, as well as local partners like Cumbria Police.

Bob Henderson at NFU mutual said: "Rural crime is expensive and a major worry for Cumbria farmers, so we're very pleased to be part of this scheme.

"As the UK's leading rural insurer, we know that when police, farmers and local rural communities work together closely, it can really make it difficult for criminals to steal in the countryside."

Inspector Scott Adams from Cumbria Constabulary said: "Cumbria is a largely rural county with a large farming community who unfortunately are targeted by criminals due to the demand for equipment.

"We continue to ask that people report any information or suspicious activity and persons to us within out rural community."

Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: "The Police do everything in their power to reduce crime in the county, but I always say it is a community effort and we all need to take steps to help ourselves, which is why this initiative has great potential.

"Farmers, and subsequently Young Farmers, know the workings of farms, farm buildings and land better that anyone. By providing the Young Farmers with more training and knowledge to identify risks, they really could make a big difference to rural crime in the county."

The aim is that the training will be taken on by the National Federation of young Farmers' Clubs as one of the modules that is offered to Young Farmers across the UK.

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