For our April meeting we were lucky enough to receive a talk from Stefan Gidlow of Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch and Sergeant Richard Jackson who heads up Cambridgeshire police forces, Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT).
This was a captivating meeting that sparked some well thought questions and comments from the Cultiv8 members and certainly made us think about how we approach rural crime both at home and within our communities.
What you may not realise about the Cambridgeshire County, is that we are very privileged to have schemes such as the Countryside Watch and RCAT, as over the border for example in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, they have fewer resources and less man power committed to combatting rural crime.
Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch are a non-profit organisation who’s bottom line goal is to reduce rural crime within the county. The organisation works closely with a number of organisations like the NFU and CLA as well as local police. Pressure on the police from members within the Countryside Watch helped secure the formation of the RCAT team.
Below are a few tips we picked up at the meeting for protecting your farm:
- Report everything
Even if it’s just £50 worth of diesel missing from your farm truck, reporting it to Countryside watch or the police can help police establish patterns and build intelligence.
The process of reporting a crime will not affect your insurance, it is down to you to inform your insurers and make claims on reported crimes.
- Back to basics
Keep everything locked up. Along with fly tipping, trailer theft is on the rise nationally, make sure everything is stored as securely as can be. If you buy second hand it is always worth contacting the manufacturer to see if they have a database to register your name against the machinery serial number.
Something as simple as a 2 concrete filled barrels with an RSJ across the middle can deter Hare coursers, but can be easily moved for access for farming operations.
Nature cameras offer a good alternative to fixed camera systems both in function and price.
- Keep a Record
Stefan suggested buying an SD card and taking an afternoon to go round your farm and take pictures of your kit and the serial numbers. You can pop this in an envelope in the bottom drawer so that you have something to fall back on should anything go missing. Serial numbers are one of the most useful things to police when tracking stolen objects
- Fly tipping
There are teams of criminals that will offer you cash to store waste on your farm, possible disguised as bales. They promise to come back and remove it but won’t come back and you will likely be the one footing the bill to have it removed. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…
Who to call
999-Crime in progress
101- Reporting a crime
0800 555 111- Cambridgeshire Crime Stoppers (anonymous)
Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch
Those of you that are based within the Cambridgeshire area, Countryside watch can help both you and your local community. As well as keeping you up to date on what is going on in the area, they can offer advice, tagging events and even some product discounts.
Fenland, Huntingdon & Peterborough- Stefan Gidlow 07890 455959
East and South Cambridgeshire- Ellen Muirhead 07952 735158