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Targeting rural crime in Somerset


Avon and Somerset Police carried out a search warrant yesterday, Monday 12/12, near Illminster in Somerset in relation to suspected rural crime.

Officers from Somerset Investigations and the Rural Crime Team were supported by Catch and Disrupt Units and the Financial Investigation Team in executing the warrant shortly after 9am.

Yesterday’s activity forms part of the Constabulary’s commitment to tackle crime specifically affecting our rural and agricultural communities.

A 44 year-old man was arrested at the property on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods.

Officers searched the property, supported by dog handlers, and recovered several items of agricultural machinery suspected to be stolen including a log splitter, livestock trailer and a diesel Bowser. Other suspected stolen items were also recovered including power tools, alcohol and items of food. Officers also found a large tub of white powder divided in to wraps, which is suspected to be amphetamine.

The 44 year-old was taken to custody at Bridgwater and has been released on bail pending further investigation.

Superintendent Mike Prior, who leads on rural crime for the force, said: “We are committed to tackling and disrupting criminality that targets and impacts on our rural communities and businesses.

“Theft and burglary, particularly of machinery and livestock, has an enormous impact on the livelihoods of our farmers. We are listening and we are taking action.

“The Rural Crime Team are now identifying the rightful owners of the property seized yesterday and will continue working with colleagues, local partners and the community to both prevent and detect crime across Somerset.

“We will also continue to listen, work with and feedback to the Rural Crime Forum, who represent a variety of groups and organisations across Somerset to ensure that our communities feel represented and kept up-to-date with our activities.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “The Constabulary are working hard to tackle rural crime and to bring offenders to justice. The police and I take the concerns of our rural communities very seriously and I hope that this operation offers reassurance to them.

“Burglary is extremely disruptive and upsetting and can make some people feel unsettled in their own home for a long time. It’s important that residents across Avon and Somerset are safe and feel safe and that they know that any type of burglary will not be tolerated."

Supt’ Prior added: “We all have a part to play, and communities are stronger and safer when we work together. Please help us to help you by taking steps to minimise the risk of falling victims to thieves.

“Don’t leave keys in farm vehicles, we know it’s challenging when multiple people need to use them, but a combination key box could be a solution. Make sure that equipment, trailers and tools are locked away wherever possible.

“There is more information and advice on our website specifically for rural communities and businesses. Visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk and search “Shutting the Gate on Rural Crime”.

If you have information about suspected rural crime, then please contact us by visiting the website or calling 101. Alternatively you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call and you could earn yourself a cash reward.

Posted on Tuesday 13th December 2016
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