POLICE in Northumberland are urging farmers and rural residents to help them deter thieves.
And officers are asking people to take simple steps to help prevent burglars and thieves from stealing farm equipment and vehicles.
Last year, 50 quad bikes were stolen in Northumberland — an average of nearly one every week.
Two tractors, 24 trailers and six horse boxes were also stolen.
Police have close links with rural communities via the Farmwatch scheme, which is a network of more than 1,600 farmers, landowners and residents who share information with officers via e-mail, phone, text and face-to-face contact.
DCI Colin Green of Northumberland Area Command said: “Criminals may think that because of the rural nature of some parts of Northumberland that they are more likely to get away with crimes and that it’s easy pickings.
“That couldn’t be further from the truth. Across rural Northumberland we have a network of people acting as our eyes and ears in the most rural of communities. We can share messages about suspicious vehicles or people in minutes.
“Anyone living on a farm or in a rural village should report any suspicious activity to police as soon as they see anything.
“I’d also ask for farmers and those with quad bikes, tractors and horse boxes to take some crime prevention measures to help stop thieves.
“Owners should also consider fitting their quad with a tracker device and overtly mark the bike and trailers with their postcode.
“Photograph your quad and keep an inventory of serial numbers, consider installing a remote alarm in your outbuildings and ensure all your external lighting is in working order.”
To report a crime or any suspicious behaviour, call 03456 043043, or in an emergency 999.
For more information about Farmwatch, telephone PC Katrina Cassidy on 03456 043043, ext 63552.