Criminals who cost Lancashire’s rural communitites £1.3m each year will be targeted by police in a week-long offensive on rural crimes such as theft of scrap metal, livestock, and plant equipment.
The operation, Firecrest III, launched today, will see officers conduct extra patrols, visit farms and rural businesses and host community meetings as well as providing a police presence at rural events.
The annual Rural Crime Survey revealed that ‘agri-theft’ has reached a five-year low, but rural crime still cost Lancashire £1,300,000 in 2012.
Specialist wildlife officers and representatives from the Environment Agency, United Utilities, HMRC and other agencies will carry out enforcement activity including anti-poaching patrols, warrants and checks on places like scrap metal yards, local auction marts, ports and other key locations.
Roadside checks will also take place to identify catch out criminals and to deter thieves. Farm tools, quad bikes and fuel are thought to be the most frequently stolen items.
Det Supt Andy Webster said: “Fortunately rural crime is relatively low in Lancashire but whilst the number of offences is small, the value of items stolen can be significant.
“The impact of crime can be severe, particularly amongst communities who already feel isolated, which is why we are determined to take action.
“The most common type of offences in our rural communities include fuel, scrap metal and vehicle or plant theft, burglary of homes and outbuildings and offences like poaching and hare coursing.”