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Commissioner meets rural businesses to discuss impact of rural crime

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, met with farmers and rural businesses in Wimblington yesterday to better understand the impact of rural crime in the county.

And whilst there, he tried his hand at leek harvesting with local business Nightingale Leek Company.

Leek harvesting (18)

The Commissioner was in the Fens with Hannah Padfield, National Farmers Union (NFU) Cambridgeshire County Advisor, Stefan Gidlow and Stephen Juggins from Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch to learn more about the knock on effect of such crimes and how they impacts on local businesses.

Police Commissioner, Jason said:

 “The visit was a timely opportunity for me to understand the devastating effect rural crime can have on communities as I pull together my Police and Crime Plan.

 “Rural Crime continues to be a big problem in Cambridgeshire, threatening local livelihoods, putting pressure on policing resources and increasing the fear of crime within our rural communities. It’s more important than ever that we work together to continue to address this threat.”

 The Constabulary set up a Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT) in 2015 as a direct response to concerns from the local community. Just last weekend, working in partnership with local game-keepers, the RCAT caught multiple hare coursing groups as well as seizing five hare coursing dogs with support from the National Police Air Service.

 Chief Inspector James Sutherland said: “A strong message is being sent to criminals – Cambridgeshire is closed to hare coursers – we will seize your cars, your phones, your dogs and send you to court.”

 The dedicated team of officers combat hare coursing and poaching, as well as using specialist knowledge to deal with other aspects of rural crime including plant/tractor theft, heritage crime, arson, wildlife crime and illegal raves.

Hannah Padfield (NFU) said:

 “Figures from rural insurer NFU Mutual show Cambridgeshire was the fourth highest county for rural thefts last year but they don’t tell the whole story. As our members explained, the theft of a tractor just before harvest or electrical wiring stolen from a leek harvesting rig can add huge costs and disruption to a farm business that aren’t covered by insurance.

“Hare coursing is also on the increase in Cambridgeshire, with the intimidation and threats of violence that comes with it. The NFU looks forward to working with the Police and Crime Commissioner and Cambridgeshire police to ensure rural communities get the police service they need and deserve.”