You may have noticed the recent coverage of rural crime in the news media. Last year the cost of this to the economy was £44.5 million. Livestock rustling, traditionally the stuff of westerns, has resurfaced in Britain. In 2013 the number of sheep stolen from farmers around the country increased by 25%
In our area crime has involved the theft of fuel oil and other chemicals, hand tools, tack and increasingly items such as quad bikes. Larger vehicles such as tractors are also targeted, generally to order by organised gangs, and are then usually shipped out of the country. Earlier this month two hay turners were stolen in Over Wallop and Chattis Hill.
If we want to tackle rural crime then we all need to work together by ensuring all incidents are reported, helping to ensure that the Police are able to target their resources efficiently. Reporting rural crime can be done in a number of ways:
• Always dial 999 in an emergency;
• Suspicious incidents can be reported to the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 101;
• You can also report information and intelligence to your local police station or community support officer;
• If you do not want to leave your name then call Crimestoppers on the 24-hour hotline 0800 555 111 or contact the charity using the on-line form at http://www.crimestopper-uk.org
The Police have had several reports of possible rogue traders touting door to door recently, particularly in relation to gardening and hedge trimming or tree surgery.
In the Shipton Bellinger area, an unknown male attended the address of an elderly lady and insisted on cutting her hedges, despite the lady asking him not to. The male then demanded payment, which was refused. Once the male left the address, the lady found that her wallet containing £200 and a cheque book had been stolen.
If you have a caller who is aggressive or persistent please call the Police!
Hampshire Trading Standards have a useful web page which lists reputable tradesmen:
If you do decide to have work done the following points may help you to avoid becoming the next victim:
• Get a clear quote before work commences;
• Try to use someone recommended by a friend or neighbour;
• Try to use a local tradesman – News about bad practice travels fast!
• If you have a vulnerable family member or neighbour, try to arrange to have the work done by someone you trust before the rogues get to them!
Finally; during periods of warm weather it is tempting to leave doors and windows open but please remember that insecure properties are an invitation for intruders. Most burglars are opportunists who do not plan their crimes but constantly look for an easy chance to enter a property through a door or window that has been left open.