Oxfordshire farmer loses £70,000 in equipment as thieves target rural areas

Watch this video report by ITV News Meridian's Juliette Fletcher.

A crop sprayer was just one of Robert Redman's seven farm machines targeted by thieves last year.

All in all £70,000 pounds worth of GPS equipment, used to gain precise positioning in the fields, was stolen overnight from the farm in Thame.

Mr Redman said: "It's absolutely devastating.

"It's more the thought of people on the premises.

"They walked right past my house and we have two great danes and and that didn't deter them.

"It's just the unease of knowing people are wondering around doing what they want."

Hampshire, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Thames Valley police forces have set up the South East Partnership Against Rural Crime. Credit: ITV News Meridian.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Thames Valley police forces have set up the South East Partnership Against Rural Crime (SEPARC) to ensure co-operation to make the region a hostile environment for countryside offenders.

To launch the new partnership, the forces have been undertaking numerous different operations to target and disrupt wildlife, environmental, heritage and agricultural criminals.

Officers have been patrolling the A34 in Berkshire and Oxfordshire for suspicious vehicles.

Several vehicles were pulled in for checking and all were found to be compliant and allowed on their way.

But Rural crime covers a wide range of offences, from fly-tipping and sheep-worrying, to agricultural theft and criminal damage, often carried out by organised gangs.

Police use a drone to track down thieves with stolen farm equipment. Credit: ITV News Meridian.

It's not just on the roads, the rural crime task force have eyes in the sky too.

The drone means they can search large areas from a distance.

Drones are able to search open land very quickly with thermal technology.

They can also view number plates from 600 metres away.

Whether it's the theft of a tractor, quad bike or damaged machinery, police say they're determined to crack down on countryside offenders.

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