Crackdown on rural crime

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Sussex Crimestoppers has joined forces with the National Farmers Union and English Heritage on a new campaign to help fight the rising tide of rural crime.

This two-pronged initiative consists of a video resource for colleges to use in lessons with sixth formers and a graphic storyboard for use throughout the wider community.

Both urge the public’s help to keep Sussex a safe place to live and work, protecting our rural way of life for generations to come.

Sixth formers are asked to lend their eyes and ears in a DVD that features victims, including young farmers, speaking out about the impact of rural crime. It will be used by schools liaison officers to engage pupils, along with a hard-hitting graphic storyboard featuring the many guises of rural crime, asking all of us to pass on information about crimes anonymously via Crimestoppers.

The storyboard will be distributed throughout Sussex and the video will be available online in the near future.

Bestselling crime novelist and Sussex Crimestoppers co patron Peter James said, “In straitened financial times, as we are in, the countryside provides a soft target for villains.

“It is difficult for rural dwellers to protect outbuildings against determined thieves, and gardening and agricultural machinery are easily saleable for instant cash. Crimestoppers is helping the police to combat rural crime. We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard something that they know is suspicious or unusual, but they may not wish to talk directly to police.

“They can ring the national 24/7 telephone number: 800 555 111 to pass on information about crimes anonymously or use the ‘giving information’ form via the website www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Chief Inspector Martin Sims at Sussex Police said, “The majority of rural crime takes place in isolated areas where witness appeals are unlikely to prove successful.

“However, people do talk and there’s every chance that someone, somewhere knows something about the crimes that this campaign covers. If people don’t want to talk directly to police or are concerned about preserving their anonymity, then Crimestoppers provide an excellent alternative method of contact.

“More and more people are concerned about the environment they live in and there’s a genuine desire to report on campaign issues. The graphic storyboard covers all the issues we would like to hear about and the DVD backs it up and provides an awareness tool for use in schools.”

The Rural Crime Campaign was due to be launched by Sussex Police and its partner organisations this week.