Conference call to battle costly rural crime menace
Landowners, farmers and businesses across Devon and Cornwall will join forces with police this year to combat the "menace" of rural crime.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) and the National Farmers' Union (NFU) will meet with police and experts from private security firms, the insurance industry and specialist equipment suppliers at two major events next month.
Preventing Crime in Rural Communities will look at ways and means to halt a crime wave that costs millions of pounds a year.
There will be keynote speeches from assistant chief constable Paul Netherton and NFU Vice President Adam Quinney.
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The problem of rural crime, which is said to draw heavily on police resources and insurance premiums, has been identified as a key policy area for both police and representative organisations.
CLA South West director John Mortimer said: "We welcome this opportunity to work together to highlight the growing menace of rural crime – and to explore ways of combating it. What is frequently not understood is that the true cost of farm theft and other rural crime is more than simply the value of the items taken.
"There is the cost of lost production time, of repairing the damage caused, plus the risk of livestock straying due to gates being left open or fencing taken down."
Bob Bunney, crime reduction advisor with Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "We are very keen to help people understand how to take control of the situation, to learn exactly how much they can do themselves to help reduce rural crime and then to offer clear information about how to act and who to contact."
The free events take place at Westpoint, Exeter, on February 1 and at the Pavilion at the Royal Cornwall Show ground, Wadebridge, on February 15.
Seminars will operate on a "drop-in" basis with sessions throughout the day examining different aspects of the law and the whole range of rural crime from farm and estate security to wildlife and equestrian crime.