Police look to combat spate of rural crimes
Police have launched a security-marking project after a spate of burglaries at isolated properties in North Devon.
Police Community Support Officer Hannah Denton is visiting farms and other rural properties to offer advice about crime prevention and security-mark valuable equipment and machinery.
The initiative was started after a rise in thefts in which burglars targeted rural properties at night across Bishops Tawton, Landkey, Swimbridge and Whiddon Valley.
Thieves have targeted power tools, horse tack and saddles, and lawnmowers as well as electric fencing and radios.
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As well as providing advice on how to secure valuable equipment, PCSO Denton is personally security etching machinery and other property.
The items are then registered on the national security database www.immobilise.com, which enables police to easily identify any stolen property if it is recovered.
"Some of these items of machinery and equipment are worth hundreds and thousands of pounds and are vital to working life in farms, stables and rural businesses," PCSO Denton said. "People can ill afford to lose them, particularly in this tough economy, and such burglaries cause huge heartache and uncertainty.
"There are some very simple measures that people in farms and isolated properties can take to reduce the risk of being burgled. I am out visiting people across the community and have marked a large amount of property so far. I am very happy to visit anyone who would like advice on keeping their property safe and secure."