Success for Somerset Farm Watch
A week ago today (Friday 16 October) Police seized stolen equipment from a farm near Sparkford. All in all they managed to recover some twenty-six items of plant machinery, farm and highways equipment. two men were arrested on the site and later released under investigation. This is a new formula of words to replace what used to be referred to as “helping Police with their enquiries”.
The items are being returned to their rightful owners. Nearly all have been identified as having been stolen from various locations across Somerset. Avon & Somerset Police are in the process of contacting those who are known to be victims of the thefts. Work is ongoing to identify the owners of the remaining equipment.
Avon and Somerset’s Rural Affairs Unit officers are working closely with victims of rural crime in a new initiative. Sharing information across neighbourhood policing teams has enabled officers to build a clearer picture. They have identified organised crime groups targeting rural communities. This in turn has resulted in successful execution of warrants and recovery of stolen goods.
Farm Watch is an integral part of those efforts. Set up by the Avon & Somerset force in 2008 to help farmers and members of rural communities. The organisation now has more than 4000 members. The scheme gives police the ability to send live updates, alerting members to thefts or suspicious activity in their area.
Rural Affairs Sergeant Andy Murphy emphasises the point “Information provided by the public has made our recent successes possible. We continue to urge people to report suspicious activity when they see it by contacting us on 101, or 999 in an emergency.“