Thieves target farms

A spate of thefts has been reported at Northumberland farms.

Thieves have targeted outbuildings and barns in remote locations around Belsay, Horsley and the Styford and Aydon areas of Corbridge.

Generators, pressure washers and fencing, and even rugs from horses in fields and food from an outside freezer, have been stolen since the New Year.

Police are appealing for information and are reminding people to be vigilant.

East Tynedale Neighbourhood Inspector Julie Cole said: “These types of crimes have a big impact on farming communities. Taking rugs off horses in the field is a mindless act which causes distress to the animals, which are then left unprotected against the cold weather.

“We recognise the impact these types of crime have and that’s why we carry out regular joint operations with other agencies and neighbouring forces to target those people involved in committing crime in our rural communities.

“We believe many of these crimes are committed by opportunists who will walk into a farmyard and go into insecure farm buildings to steal whatever insecure property they can find.

“Anything that can be sold or useful to someone else is clearly worth stealing in their eyes so it can’t be stressed enough how we need the rural communities to help us tackle this type of crime by being our eyes and ears.”

She added: “East Tynedale is a very large area and officers carry out regular patrols of the rural routes, however we need the public to tell us immediately when they see suspicious people or vehicles so that officers can attend.

“What is equally important is that residents pay extra attention to their property and look at what steps they can take to further protect it. It’s easy for people to become complacent as we live in such as low crime area, however, thieves rely on complacency.

“Leaving premises insecure overnight or leaving keys in farm vehicles or machinery must be avoided.

“We have a successful Farmwatch scheme in this area and sharing information about suspicious people and vehicles travelling in the area is important to tackling these offences.”

Northumbria Police’s Operation Soundwave aims to tackle thieves and burglars across the force, while promoting crime prevention advice. The operation has the backing of the Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.

Ms Baird said: “I will do everything I can to support the more rural communities of our region targeted by criminals.

“While we all enjoy and appreciate the beautiful countryside of East Tynedale, unfortunately it can attract people who do not just visit for the views and the outdoor activities and we must all work together to tackle this criminal minority.

“Local officers and the policing team in East Tynedale can be contacted for advice and information, which will help people to protect their property.”

For more crime prevention information visit www.northumbria.police.uk/crimeprevention

People are also urged to sign up to the free property register Immobilise at www.immobilise.com

Residents should report anything suspicious to police straight away so they can investigate. Police can be called on 101, or to report an ongoing crime dial 999.