Sussex Crimestoppers has joined forces with the NFU 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.
Chief Inspector Martin Sims 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.”
NFU vice president Adam Quinney said, “Rural crime deprives farm businesses of valuable equipment and livestock, often resulting in significant losses and a reduction in productivity.
“The NFU is delighted to support this Sussex Crimestoppers initiative to help people of all ages identify suspicious or unusual activity and to report rural crime anonymously.
“By working in partnership with police and local communities, we can tackle the scourge of rural crime by engaging more eyes and ears in the countryside.”
Baroness Andrews, Chair of English Heritage said, “Heritage crime is not just a financial crime where profits and insurance companies suffer the only loss, although there is often a very significant financial cost as well. This is crime that erases history, threatens the viability of churches, defiles the memory of our war heroes and melts away our great art and artefacts.
“Through our work within the Heritage Crime Programme and the Alliance to Reduce Crime against Heritage (ARCH), we have made significant progress in tackling heritage crime by working in partnership with law enforcement agencies and local communities. This campaign will allow us to increase community vigilance and to use preventative and enforcement measures in a way that properly reflects the value to society of the sites that have been damaged.”
The Rural Crime Campaign is being launched on March 21,