FARMERS and landowners are being urged to look again at their security arrangements in an effort to cut equipment and vehicle thefts.
CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn pointed out that the combination of dark nights and economic uncertainty is a recipe for an increase in rural crime.
She said: “At this time of year, with its short days and long nights, there is always an increase in countryside crime.
“With the added catalysts of a fragile economy and belt-tightening measures for many families this year, we are already starting to see a swell of rural criminal offences such as theft and fly-tipping.
“Rural areas can provide rich and easy pickings.
“Crime in rural areas takes many forms and is made easier for the perpetrator by the relative isolation of homes and businesses, a maze of county lanes unmonitored by CCTV, lack of street lighting, miles of legal public access close to properties and low visible police presence.”
The CLA said simple steps such as not leaving tools lying around, ensuring keys are removed from vehicles and that sheds and other outbuildings are properly secured should be taken as a matter of course.
And people living off the mains gas supply grid, who use heating oil, should fit locks on tank filler/vent caps and check levels frequently to ensure fuel is not being siphoned off.
Miss Fairburn added: “We are urging our members to have a look around their premises with a thief’s eye, to identify vulnerable spots and areas in permanent darkness.
“Anyone who needs further help should contact the crime prevention officer at their local police station or talk to a specialist security company. And last but by no means least – if you see a crime, report it.”
We are already starting to see a swell of rural criminal offences such as theft and fly-tipping