Leyland farm raided and man arrested after thousands of pounds worth of quad bikes and machinery stolen
A number of stolen quad bikes and thousands of pounds worth of farm machinery has been recovered after police raided a farm in Leyland.
Police arrested a 32-year-old man in Lostock Hall on suspicion of theft, but he has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
The early morning raids on Friday, November 9 were part of a national crack down on rural crime, using public intelligence to identify suspects.
Rural Crime officers, assisted by neighbourhood policing teams, conducted warrants at a farm in Leyland and a home in Lostock Hall.
Officers found five stolen quad bikes, a stolen horse box and an industrial lawnmower at the farm. A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and on suspicion of money laundering.
Sgt Darren Carr said the success of the operation was "a direct result of intelligence from the public" and encouraged people to continue sharing information about rural crime with police.
Lancashire Police hailed the 'national day of action' as a success, after officers joined police forces from across England and Wales as part of Operation Checkpoint, a countrywide campaign to disrupt criminals who use road networks to steal property in rural areas.
The operation ran throughout Thursday, November 8 and into the early hours of Friday, November 9, with each force providing officers and specialist resources for their own areas.
Supt Julian Platt, of Lancashire Police, said: “This operation has been aimed primarily at disrupting organised crime groups who operate between force areas committing acquisitive crime, potentially countrywide and predominantly in rural areas.
“We have carried out a number of stop/checks across the county targeting vehicles and trailers carrying plant and agricultural machinery, as well as other vehicles relating to police intelligence.
“We have also provided high visibility reassurance to members of the public and rural communities, with a particular focus on the theft of plant and agricultural equipment, hare coursing and organised crime links.
“Seventy-four per cent of Lancashire’s geographical area is classed as rural. We are keen to work with the residents living in these areas to clamp down on criminals wherever they are from, and wherever they are going.
“Rural and wildlife officers are working with Lancashire Tactical Operations officers to extend their reach across Lancashire and stop cross border criminals.”
Recent police intelligence has shown organised crime groups targeting semi-rural cash machines across Lancashire and the North West.
Lancashire Police said that criminals targeting rural areas will often carry out reconnaissance of targets, including paying unusual attention to CCTV, traffic and footfall. The gangs have even been known to use industrial and farm equipment such as JCB diggers to smash into buildings to remove cash machines.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Rural crime can have a huge impact on victims and this is a great example of the work being done here in Lancashire to protect those who live and work in our rural areas.
"Protecting our rural communities is as much a priority for me as it is policing our more urban towns and cities and this is part of a long term commitment at Lancashire Constabulary to tackle rural crime.
"This campaign clearly demonstrates the enthusiasm and dedication our rural officers have to catch criminals who operate across the rural areas of the county."