Farmers will reveal impact of rural crime

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Bedfordshire farmers and councillors will highlight the impact of countryside crime when they meet the Deputy Chief Constable and other senior officers next week.

Tractor and other farm machinery thefts, hare coursing, fly tipping and trespass will be among the issues raised at the meeting on Monday (March 21), chaired by NFU county chairman Gary Speirs and organised with the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, the Countess of Erroll.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Paul Fuller is also attending the meeting, at Scald End Farm, Thurleigh to discuss issues around rural fires.

Bedfordshire NFU county adviser Jim McKeane said: “Rural crime remains a real cause of concern for our members.

“NFU Mutual figures show that the East of England is the worst affected region, with rural crime costing an estimated £6.3 million last year.

“But that figure doesn’t include crimes such as hare coursing and fly-tipping.

“Also, a theft from a farm can have a severe financial impact on a business that is not just covered by an insurance claim, for example if a tractor is stolen when harvest is about to start.

“We hope this meeting will help the police gain a true picture of what’s happening in the countryside so they can focus their time, effort and resources on delivering the results rural communities need and deserve.”

During the meeting farmers will also hear how they can help the police by volunteering to become a Special Constable.

Mr McKeane added: “We know police budgets are under severe pressure, particularly in Bedfordshire, so this rural fire and crime and summit will be discussing ways the rural community can work together to help reduce crime.”

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