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BBC Countryfile, rural crime and 81819…

The Rural Crime Team and Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie will be featured on the BBC’s Countryfile programme this Sunday 22/01.

The team will be talking about their response to livestock theft and how they will be dealing with issue in 2017.

The programme will also feature local farm John Vigar, from Langport, who had 220 sheep stolen last summer. The team speak to John, and their counterparts from Lancashire Constabulary, about work by police up and down the country to help prevent livestock theft, and how the public can help.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “We know that certain crimes such as livestock thefts have a significant impact on the livelihoods of our farmers, their families and their business. That’s why it’s important the police take rural crime seriously, for too long local people felt that rural crime was not a priority.

“The police have been on a long journey over the past four-years developing relationships, listening, learning and building up real expertise in this area. The police and the dedicated rural crime team are working hard, taking on the criminals that prey on our rural communities. I’m pleased that Countryfile has highlighted the impact of rural crime, the ways the police are tackling it and reinforced the importance of us tackling this issue together.”

This week 34 calves, 10-15 months old, of Friesian/Limousin/Angus breeds were stolen from land near Wells in Somerset, and the team are really keen to encourage people to watch the programme on Sunday, to emphasize the impact of livestock theft on local farmers.

The team also launched a new text number this week, 81819, to enable the public to pass on intelligence and information about rural crime directly to the Rural Crime Team.

Inspector Joanna Mines, from the Rural Crime Team in Somerset, said: “We are trialing the number for three months. “Many people who belong to our FarmWatch scheme had said they wanted a facility to be able to pass on information and respond to messages quickly, and this new number will allow that.

“We want to hear from anyone who has information about any suspicious or potentially criminal activity in their area, for example - details of people/vehicles seen behaving suspiciously, potentially stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale either to the public or at markets, sightings of stolen vehicles we might put out an alert for.

“No matter how small or insignificant people may think information is, it may be a vital piece of a jigsaw that helps us fill in the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice.”

The number won’t be monitored 24/7 but the team will be looking at it when they are on duty, it therefore shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes. If it's a crime which requires an immediate police attendance then dial 999.

Inspector Mines will be featured on BBC Somerset this Saturday morning, 21/01 and on BBC Pointswest on Sunday afternoon in the lead up to Countryfile on Sunday evening.
Posted on Saturday 21st January 2017
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