Farm crime tops 500 mark

MORE than 500 crimes were reported at Suffolk farms in the space of 12 months, police figures show.

A total of 199 thefts and 135 burglaries were among the crimes said to have been committed between April 1, 2009, and March 31, 2010.

Suffolk Police records show that 505 crimes were recorded at agricultural premises in the county during that time, compared with 467 reports in Norfolk and 421 in Cambridgeshire.

Police figures also show that in the period between April 1, 2007, and December 5 last year, there were 1,861 reports of crimes at farms in Suffolk.

A rural crime crackdown is now under way in the counties across East Anglia in a bid to stamp out the problem.

Det Ch Insp Louisa Pepper of Suffolk Police said: “We realise that rural crime can have a severe commercial impact on a farming operation and, more broadly, rural businesses, as well as the local community.

“As a result, we are working hard to combat this sort of crime. An operation has been set up to focus on scrap metal thefts throughout the county.

“Officers are liaising with scrap metal dealers and encouraging people in rural communities to use the property-marking tool SmartWater.”

She added: “In addition to this, officers have set up special seminars with local farmers to discuss ways of developing a pro-active approach to tackling rural crime, with local Safer Neighbourhood Teams working in partnership with the farming community.”