Nottinghamshire Police gains new weapon in fight against rural crime
A mini spate of tractor thefts has prompted Nottinghamshire Police to install high-tech tracker devices in its cars so criminals can be caught red-handed..
The force recovered two tractors earlier this year after they were stolen locally, returning them to their rightful owners intact.
Officers noticed both vehicles were fitted with tracker equipment and that many high-value vehicles now have this installed so they can be more easily recovered.
This prompted officers in Newark to seek similar tracking devices for police vehicles, which will help them to be able to quickly locate vehicles which are reported stolen – perhaps even catching thieves in the act.
The device works like a compass with an arrow which directs the user to the tracker location.
A company called Tracker has now provided 15 devices free-of-charge to the force which have been fitted to the vehicles, some of which are also fitted with automatic number plate recognition cameras.
This fleet is now being used by teams right across the rural areas of Nottinghamshire.
This initiative is all part of a wider crackdown on rural crime following an increase in high-value rural vehicles and heavy machinery being stolen from farms and business locally.
The force’s new rural crime lead, Chief Inspector Heather Sutton, has now set up a committee with partners such as the National Farmers’ Union and Country Landowners Association, to look at all these issues.
Other recent schemes have included a new toolkit being given to officers.
The specialist app is downloaded onto every officer’s mobile phone and includes documents that sets out the legislation and powers for rural and wildlife crime matters.
There has also been several rural crime operations taking place across the county aimed at cracking down on criminals who travel between Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. This followed reports of high-value thefts and burglaries of off-road vehicles and power tools.
Chief Inspector Sutton said: “The new tracker equipment will enable us to provide a quick response when machinery or vehicles are stolen in a bid to locate them straight away and we are very grateful to have been given these devices for free.
“There won’t be anywhere for thieves to hide the stolen items as once we’ve tracked down a location we can then carry out an area search, which includes sifting through long grass and woodland until the item is recovered.
“We recognise that rural businesses have been deliberately targeted due to having expensive machinery that can then be sold on elsewhere by criminals or used for their parts.
“We won’t tolerate this in Nottinghamshire and have initiated a strong response which has seen some really positive results so far.
“These high-value thefts can be absolutely devastating for businesses by causing stress and even, in some circumstances, contribute to financial hardship.
"We want to do everything we can to prevent this happening and will continue our work rural areas to stop criminals in the tracks.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “Tractors and other farming equipment represent a large investment and anything that deters criminals and assist the police in locating stolen vehicles and agricultural equipment has to be good news.
“Tackling rural crime is a key part of my future plans and I will be watching the progress of this and other rural initiatives closely.”