Rural communities will be aware of various items of news in the past weeks that will affect them, namely the issue of rural crime which has been bought to the forefront again following the release of the NFU’s Annual Rural Crime Report.
It saddens me to see that rural crime is prevalent again and is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.
With the freedom that a post pandemic world brings, perpetrators are more able to travel around and with the cost of living increasing, it is important now more than ever to protect our properties.
The report has shown that Land Rover Defender Theft has risen by 87%, trailer theft is up by 5% and livestock rustling has increased by 3.7%. Dog attacks on animals has seen a reported increase also.
On a more positive note, the practice of Hare Coursing, which has been related to abusive and aggressive behavior towards land owners, has seen significant new changes to the legislation as of the 1st August 2022.
The CLA welcomes these new changes which will allow law enforcement to strengthen, seeing an increase in the maximum penalty to an unlimited fine and introducing the possibility of up to 6 months imprisonment, along with two new criminal offences added to Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 which will give extra powers to the courts including being able to disqualify convicted offenders from owning or keeping dogs.
I would encourage all to make time to look at your property through the eyes of a trespasser. Are there keys somewhere that you think is not obvious, but someone could easily stumble upon? Are all of your gates locked when work is finished? Have you considered putting up cameras and security lighting where possible? The most important thing is to report all incidents of crime or suspicious activity.
The CLA is working closely with police and local authorities in the region to tackle all crime in the countryside to continue to ensure that those living, working and visiting our countryside feel safe.