Stolen items including a tractor and thousands of tools worth £2m seized by Kent Police

Blog: An update from Kent Police's Rural Task Force, covering its operations and future plans
Op Thames Drone
As part of Operation Thames, officers located and seized six stolen caravans, a quad bike and more than 3,600 power tools, generators and hand tools.

In this blog, Sergeant Ross Haybourne, from Kent Police's Rural Task Force, updates CLA members on some of its recent work...


This year has been a busy one so far for Kent Police’s Rural Task Force, which has already expanded in size and will continue to grow over the next few months. We are also continuing to work closely with our Special Constables, who work on a voluntary basis but have the same powers and equipment as regular officers, to enable us to tackle rural, waste and seasonal crime across the whole of Kent.

We have run a number of operations targeting criminals who are committing offences against those who live, work and socialise in our rural communities. During these operations we have made numerous significant arrests and seized stolen items worth in excess of £1.8 million including a tractor, five excavators, five quad bikes, five trailers, eight stolen caravans, thousands of tools and numerous other items of plant machinery.

One of our operations that you may have read about is Operation Thames that relates to a warrant we carried out at a location in Cranbrook, where we believed a stolen drill had been taken following a theft from a tradesman’s van in Bedfordshire.

We invited officers from Thames Valley Police’s Rural Crime Task Force to attend with us and during the warrant we located and seized six stolen caravans, a quad bike and more than 3,600 power tools, generators and hand tools. The estimated value of the recovered items from this one warrant was £1 million. Seven suspects were also arrested during the warrant, all of whom have since been bailed pending further enquiries.

From the investigation so far we know that items have been stolen from across the country, therefore a specific email address has been created with the intention of identifying owners of the stolen tools. If you believe we may have one of your items, please email with either proof of purchase, serial numbers, or details of unique identifying features.

Dog DNA research and waste crime

We are also currently working alongside Liverpool John Moores University to assist in their research regarding dog DNA recovery, following livestock worrying and attacks. As part of the ongoing research project our officers will be collecting swab samples from injured and deceased livestock at crime scenes. We already utilise DNA recovery when investigating these offences, however we are hoping to assist with the development in improving this process and the techniques used to optimise DNA recovery methods.

In the coming months we will be targeting those who seek to target the most vulnerable members of our community with rogue trading, alongside tackling the increase in waste crime and fly-tipping across our rural areas.

We are conducting regular patrols of known dump sites, collating intelligence around suspected people and vehicles, as well as working with partner agencies and the local authority to identify and prosecute those who are dumping industrial levels of waste. Earlier this month we arrested a man and seized his skip lorry, which had been used for fly-tipping. He is now being prosecuted by the local authority for the fly-tipping and we are dealing with a host of traffic offences committed. We will continue to apply joint partnership working to tackle these offences and send out a message that it will not be tolerated in Kent.

If you are interested in the ongoing work that Kent Police’s RTF are undertaking, please read our quarterly publication Rural Matters.