Dozens of farmers sign up to scheme to tackle crime in rural parts of East Northamptonshire

Police are looking for the owners of a saxophone and a wedding ring
Police are looking for the owners of a saxophone and a wedding ring

Dozens of farmers have signed up to a scheme to help police tackle crime affecting people living and working in rural locations.

The Farm Watch scheme covering East Northamptonshire used to have just 12 members, but it now boasts about 80.

Members are vital in helping provide police with information about rural crime or suspicious behaviour, and the increase in people supporting the scheme seems to be paying off.

Just last week police recovered a 4x4 vehicle full of dead rabbits after being alerted to offenders illegally poaching.

A number of officers were called to a field near Blatherwycke Road in King’s Cliffe at 1am on Wednesday after a report of suspicious behaviour by a member of the public.

On arrival they discovered the car and found three abandoned dogs which they believe were used in harecoursing and poaching, although the offenders had fled the scene.

Two gates were also found to be damaged.

It is hoped that the scheme will see further successes and continue to help police in their bid to prevent crime in rural settings.

Sector commander for East Northamptonshire Julie Mead admitted that farmers have said to her in the past that they don’t always report crimes because they don’t think officers will come out.

However, she believes Farm Watch is helping to show farmers that they do care, but she added: “We have got to build on the confidence and work with them on the issues affecting them.”

The Farm Watch scheme has a Facebook page where warnings and appeals can be posted.

It could be details about a suspicious vehicle spotted in the area, tyre marks left in a field or opened gates which could indicate someone has been trespassing and has already committed an offence or is planning to.

Insp Mead said the information provided and shared by farmers is helping officers piece together a picture of what is going on and also allows them to warn others about incidents.

She added: “For me it has been a great success for the Futures programme.

“The numbers that are talking to us on the Facebook page is growing.”

Sgt Paul Mitchinson from the East Northamptonshire North team said: “People come from miles around because we have got the terrain here.”

But he said they are busy working with farmers to try and make sure they are one step ahead of those attempting to carry out illegal activity in the East Northamptonshire countryside.