Farmers fight rural crime through police scheme


Police - Credit: Archant

FARMERS are doing their bit in the fight against rural crime by signing up to a scheme designed to keep farm buildings, crops, livestock and equipment secure.

Essex Police’s Farm Watch scheme links with local farmers and sees members sharing information about suspicious vehicles and activity on their land in an effort to help prevent and apprehend offenders.

Brenda Cross, the force’s liaison officer for Uttlesford, Chelmsford, Maldon and Braintree, said the scheme was building good relationships within the farming community and proving a success.

In one incident, a Farm Watch member in Leaden Roding alerted police after becoming suspicious about two men seen loading wood into the back of a van. The Farmer carried out citizen arrests until the police arrived and issued both men with a caution for theft.

Meanwhile, a stolen tractor found hidden in bushes in the Margaretting area was recently reunited with its rightful owner from Ingatestone thanks to the scheme.

After discovering the tractor, Pc Andrew Wood, who is based in Chelmsford, alerted Farm Watch members and through the network one member whose tractor had been stolen came forward to claim it.

In all cases, information is passed on to Farm Watch members and other bordering police forces.

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Ms Cross said: “We have approximately 2,000 farmers across the county who have joined the scheme so far who are updated about crimes and suspicious behaviour on farm land. These kinds of crimes include theft of machinery and diesel as well as criminal damage to crops and hare coursing.”

She added: “There are many eyes and ears out there taking note of suspicious behaviour and sharing information with the police so criminals should beware.

“They’re not welcome on farm land and our members are working together to reduce crime on their land.”

Farm Watch also offers members practical advice on how keep their vehicles and property safe and marking of valuable property.

More information is available by calling Ms Cross on 101 ext 420279 or e-mailing