Police are reminding farmers to be on their guard against thieves after nearly £70,000-worth of quad bikes have been stolen in the last three months in Northumberland.
A total of 16 have been reported stolen since April across rural areas including Alnwick, Morpeth, Wark, Ponteland and Prudhoe. Of these, two were recovered after being abandoned by thieves nearby, but another was later found burnt out.
Police are stepping up patrols in these areas and are speaking to farmers to remind them to take precautions to prevent further thefts.
This comes as officers in Northern Area Command continue to target thieves during their burglary week of action.
Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Oates said: “We know how much the farming community rely on their quad bikes on a daily basis to get around their land. Having a vital piece of equipment stolen can cause real hardship. So we’re asking the rural community to be alert, use the FarmWatch network and keep their property safe and secure.
“Tackling rural crime is a key priority for us and we’re committed to doing everything we can to target criminals who operate in our area. We’re also asking the rural community to play their part by to reporting any suspicious activity to police straightaway.
“Rural Northumberland covers a huge area and unfortunately thieves will travel long distances to look for opportunities to steal property including quad bikes.
“It’s important local people continue to help us and themselves by protecting their homes, businesses and properties from thieves.”
NFU Northumberland and North Durham County Adviser Samantha Davies said: “It is very worrying to see our rural farming communities are being targeted by criminals, especially when it involves vital farm equipment where the knock on effect can cause unnecessary stress on farm businesses and their families.
“It is reassuring to hear that the local police are taking immediate action and we share with them one very important message, please report it. It’s no coincidence that we repeat how vital the eyes and ears of the rural communities are because it’s proven to catch criminals so please report any and all suspicious activity by using the 101 number.“
Anyone with information about these burglaries, or to report suspicious behaviour, should contact police on 101.
For further crime prevention advice, visit the Northumbria Police website.