A TASKFORCE is turning the tide of rural crime in north Wales.
Winston Roddick, North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, praised the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team for “setting the benchmark for the rest of the UK” after a downturn in countryside offences.
He said: “During my campaign for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner I visited livestock markets and met farmers and members of the rural communities and without exception they pointed to how much crime was taking place in the countryside.
“These offences ran into millions of pounds and this reinforced the view expressed to me that we should dedicate more resources to combating rural crime.
"Since then the Rural Crime Team has made an excellent start and they are setting a benchmark for the rest of the UK. Their work is attracting a great deal of interest from other forces.”
Since the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team was introduced six months ago, the number of rural incidents has been recorded on a daily basis.
After peaking in October at 116, they have been dropping steadily with 72 in January.
These include such diverse offences as livestock rustling, theft of farm machinery, badger digging and stealing rare birds eggs.
Sergeant Rob Taylor heads the team, which has four full-time police constables across North Wales, and is supported by PCSOs and special constables.
Natural Resources Wales are partnering North Wales Police in the venture.
Sgt Taylor added: “The drop is encouraging, however these are very early days and there is still a lot of hard work ahead for the team and our partner agencies.
“This isn’t a solo effort and we rely so much on our farming unions for their support and also our colleagues at the NRW for their invaluable assistance.”
Huw Jones, FUW Meirionydd county executive officer, said: “Investment in tackling rural crime is a great boost for the farming economy and has enhanced the safety of rural and isolated communities.”
To contact North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team, call 101 or email Ruralcrimeteam@north-wales.police.uk.