Police officers from the Constabulary’s Rural Crime Team were out and about in South Somerset yesterday running a joint operation with Trading Standards, Animal and Plant Health Agency and VOSA.
Together they were stopping agricultural vehicles and other lorries to check the maintenance of the vehicles, the conditions of animal being transported and to ensure that the drivers had the correct paperwork in relation to the livestock.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Livestock rustling is a concern residents are raising with me and I am delighted that the police have been able to carry out this day of action. Rural crime is already a focus for the police, with a dedicated rural crime team and a rural crime forum.
“Yesterday’s operation highlights the efforts the police are going to tackle this crime, which affects the lives and livelihoods of farmers. I would encourage anyone with any information to contact the police.”
PC Katy Drabble from the Rural Crime Team said: “We were stopping vehicles yesterday to ensure that large vehicles, carrying a lot of weight – in some cases animals, were road worthy and weren’t presenting a danger to themselves or other drivers.
“We were also working with our partners to check on the condition of the animals and to look for any stolen livestock, as there has been an increase in this area over the past few months.”
15 vehicles stopped during the morning and there were fortunately no concerns regarding the health and welfare of any of the animals being transported.
Trading Standards made referrals to their Dorset colleagues in relation to an advisory regarding to the length of journey on one particular Animal Transport Certificate and an advisory in relation to one person not having the correct authorisation form for animal transportation.
VOSA made a number of prohibitions, meaning the vehicle owners had to rectify the issues before they are allowed to leave the site or within a certain period of time. These included prohibitions for a bald tyre, faulty mirrors, a trailer handbrake fault, an insecure load of scaffolding and a faulty bulb on a livestock trailer.
PC Drabble added: “We understand the impact that livestock and equipment theft has on our farming and equestrian community. We will continue to work with our partners and our rural communities to tackle rural crime, ensure the safety of our roads and deal with the issues that local people and businesses are citing as their priorities.
“We are really grateful to the farmers and drivers who were very patient yesterday while we were stopping people and doing the checks.
If you would like further information or advice regarding vehicle safety or crime prevention tips for securing your home or business, or to join our Farm and Horse Watch schemes - you can visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk You can follow the rural crime team on Twitter @ASPoliceRuralCrime
Posted on Thursday 30th July 2015