THE charity Crimestoppers has launched an appeal for anonymous information to help protect hard-pressed rural communities across the region.
It says criminal gangs are exploiting local wildlife, the environment and local communities in many ways leaving rural residents often feeling unsafe in their own homes and farmers having to pay for criminal damage.
In the year to April 2021, Crimestoppers nationally received nearly 2,700 anonymous reports about rural crime.
Whilst this is a 14 per cent increase on the year before, it suggests a degree of under-reporting – hence why the charity is launching an awareness campaign to encourage more people to speak up.
Examples of anonymous tip-offs received include:
A named man using aggressive dogs to carry out illegal hunting of deer and game.
Local tradesmen at (address given) burying asbestos in earth mounds on the field (as given) as well as dumping and burning rubbish.
Named men all involved in the theft of machinery from building sites and farms, stealing diggers, caterpillars, Bobcats and tractors that do not have trackers on.
From its latest claims statistics rural insurer NFU Mutual estimates that rural theft cost the UK a staggering £43.3million in 2020.
Crimestoppers has been working with a range of rural partners and key themes will focus on wildlife crime, environmental crime and theft, all of which have a detrimental and often crushing affect rural communities.
Initially, the campaign will explore hare coursing, poaching and badger baiting, with advice on how to spot the signs, sharing prevention advice and hearing from organisations who work with the police and other partners to prevent and solve these crimes.
To report rural crime 100 per cent anonymously, visit Crimestoppers-uk.org or call freephone 0800 555 111, 365 days of the year. In an emergency, always call 999.