Wiltshire Police’s Rural Crime Team has successfully stopped a number of people from carrying out illegal activities in the countryside in a pro-active operation.
The team worked closely with the MOD, Tri force, air support and dog units, alongside rural community volunteers on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 August 2016 to prevent and detect criminal activity.
Thursday night: a Subaru with men and dogs on board was seen lamping. The resulting pursuit saw the car being driven off road through fields, coming to rest in a riverbed; the men then ran off (photo above).
Police dogs, at scene, soon found two men who were subsequently arrested.
Friday night – a Land Rover with occupants was seen lamping and consequently pursued by officers, resulting in two males being arrested.
A Vauxhall Astra containing five males and dogs which had come from the Hampshire area was also stopped; officers issued “Section 35 notices” which means those issued with such a notice have to leave Wiltshire for a prescribed time.
PC Marc Jackson from the Wiltshire Rural Crime Team said: “The aim of this operation is to work alongside rural communities who are affected by rural based criminality such as burglaries, thefts and poaching related offences, which has a significant effect on those communities
“Communities around Pewsey, Everleigh and Upavon have concerns over night poaching, damage to crops and thefts from outbuildings on both farmland and the Salisbury Plain training area.
“In response to this, the Rural Crime Team has worked with local officers, Tri-force, the Special Constabulary and the MOD to employ a significant number of officers into those areas over two nights. They worked alongside local members of the rural communities to identify vehicles or people suspected of being involved in criminal activity, and where necessary positive action has been taken.
“The Rural Crime Team will continue to work in partnership with farming communities and our partners to tackle and prevent rural crime. I would urge anyone with any information in regards to any individuals or vehicles involved in such activity to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “Wiltshire is a rural county. The landscape is stunning and it attracts many visitors. Unfortunately a tiny minority come here not to enjoy the marvellous scenery, but to profit at the expense of hard working farmers and land owners.
“Making a living from the land is not easy and farmers living in isolated locations can be vulnerable to crime.
“So I was very pleased to hear about the results of this recent Wiltshire Police operation designed to target and disrupt those crossing the border into Wiltshire to carry out criminal activity.
“The rural crime team deserve credit for acting on intelligence and having people in place to move in, stop suspicious vehicles and make arrests for a range of alleged offences.
“I would urge everyone living in our rural communities to report any suspicious activity and pass on to Wiltshire Police any information they may have about planned illegal activities such as hare coursing, poaching or hunting.
“I would also remind people that there are real benefits to signing up to Community Messaging via my website. You can then tick the boxes for updates about the schemes which interest you, including Wiltshire Farm Watch and Wiltshire Horse Watch.”
Four men were arrested on suspicion of hunting with dogs, dangerous driving and endangering other road users. Two were from the Frome area – aged 15 and 20, the other two from Hampshire – aged 24 and 18.
Two vehicles seized – Land Rover and Subaru.
Five section 35 dispersal notices issued – Notice ensures persons leaves the county to prevent offences, distress or harassment and can be arrested if seen again. These five are separate to those arrested.
Two lamps seized, five dogs seized and other items which could have been used in the commission of crime.
21 vehicles stop checked in total.