Police launch ‘Rural Watch’ in South Glos

Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2011 at 8:29 am by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire police have launched Rural Watch across South Gloucestershire.

The aim is to offer support to farmers, stables and rural households to combat crime, improve their security and encourage them to report anything suspicious to police.

More than 100 members of existing Farm Watch and Horse Watch schemes and those who have recently suffered from crime will be offered a security survey by specialist officers.

The local neighbourhood team also offer a property marking service for the top five most commonly stolen pieces of equipment: quad bikes, mowers/strimmers, chainsaws, electric fence power units and tack.

Those who sign up for Rural Watch will also get updates whenever a crime is reported for their area through the Neighbourhood Watch Ringmaster system.

Neighbourhood Inspector Deryck Rees is co-ordinating the initiative. He said: “We know that thieves will travel to rural areas to target isolated outbuildings and premises, stealing quad bikes and power tools.

“Rural Watch is just one of the ways we’re tackling the problem. We’re targeting our patrols and working with neighbouring forces as well as liaising with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).”

The move comes after more than dozen reports of barns and outbuildings being broken into in Thornbury and villages off the A38 into Gloucestershire. Police believe quad bikes are the main target for the thieves.

Martin Gill, chair of the NFU’s Thornbury branch, said: “This support for the rural community is very welcome. People living and working in isolated areas can feel vulnerable, and this support from local police will help people feel safer.

“I would urge farmers and rural residents to take up this offer of free security advice and property marking – especially as some insurers such as NFU Mutual offer discounts for certain security systems.”

Police say it’s important for people to secure tools as equipment as thieves use any items they find on the scene to force locks and bolts. A relatively small investment in motion-activated alarms, good quality locks, bolts and hinges and marking property, used together to give ‘layers of defence’, does deter thieves.

Police recommend:

  • Record the serial numbers of equipment and vehicles and register it for free on www.immobilise.com. Off road vehicles can be registered with DVLA for a fee.
  • Permanently mark property with their postcode both obviously with something like exterior metalwork paint and again somewhere concealed and sheltered with an ultraviolet marker pen. Alternatively use a Secured by Design-approved asset marking kit.
  • Make sure outbuildings, fences, gates and doors are sturdy. Fit buildings used to store quad bikes with an alarm – wireless dual beam PIR systems are versatile and easy to use.
  • Fit Sold Secure standard locks, bolts and hinges
  • Use a ground anchor and taut chain of Sold Secure standard to secure quad bikes and other items within an outbuilding
  • Install low-energy dusk-to-dawn or motion-activated security lights.
  • Report any incidents of suspicious vehicles or activity, especially registration numbers and descriptions.

South Gloucestershire police are working closely with neighbouring Gloucestershire police to increase patrols of the affected areas.

Find more security advice from:

Source: Avon and Somerset Police

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