50 farmers reveal rural problems to police and fire chiefs
A meeting of 50 Bedfordshire farmers and local councillors congregated to discuss rural crime with the Deputy Chief Constable and other senior officers on Monday.
Fly-tipping, tractor and other farm machinery thefts, hare coursing, and trespass were be among the issues raised at the meeting, chaired by NFU county chairman Gary Speirs and organised with the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, the Countess of Erroll.
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue chief fire officer Paul Fuller also attended the meeting, at Scald End Farm, Thurleigh to discuss issues around rural fires.
Bedfordshire NFU county adviser Jim McKeane said: “Rural crime remains a real cause of concern for our members.
“NFU Mutual figures show that the East of England is the worst affected region, with rural crime costing an estimated £6.3 million last year. But that figure doesn’t include crimes such as hare coursing and fly-tipping. Also, a theft from a farm can have a severe financial impact on a business that is not just covered by an insurance claim, for example if a tractor is stolen when harvest is about to start.
“We hope this meeting has helped the police gain a true picture of what’s happening in the countryside so they can focus their time, effort and resources on delivering the results rural communities need and deserve.”
During the meeting farmers also heard how they can help the police by volunteering to become a Special Constable.
Mr McKeane said: “We know police budgets are under severe pressure, particularly in Bedfordshire, so this rural fire and crime and summit was a good opportunity to discuss ways the rural community can work together to help reduce crime.”