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South Buckinghamshire Rural Crime Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2022/3

Friday, January 20th, 2023

Dear Country Watch Member,

With the merger of Wycombe and South Buckinghamshire Local Policing Areas, my newsletter will now cover all of the South Buckinghamshire LPA. The purpose of the newsletter is to make our rural members and residents aware of current crime trends to allow them to take action and develop working practices to reduce crime.

TVP South Buckinghamshire Rural Crime team partnering with bordering forces

Operations and tackling crime: To deal successfully with rural crime, we need to work with our bordering forces, as criminals are travelling from other areas. Over the last three years, joint operations have achieved some great results in stopping all types of crime. Analytical data will focus us to target identified routes to intercept travelling criminals on our road networks. These operations have had a massive effect on reducing burglaries and seizing criminals’ vehicles, disrupting their ability to travel. In September, our Neighbourhood (NH) officers worked alongside Hertfordshire Police, our Proactive Road Policing units and armed support units. The operation resulted in three arrests in Thames Valley and two in Herts, with four cars recovered and five people reported. An even larger joint operation related in 67 arrests (15 TVP) and 28 vehicles (11 TVP) being seized. December’s days of action resulted in four arrests, four people reported and six vehicles being seized or recovered.

One incident of note that relates to TVP receiving intelligence that a van confirmed to be on cloned plates and believed involved in two rural burglaries in Marlow was in the area. Officers spotted the vehicle and used a stop stick on the vehicle that led to a pursuit before suspects were detained. At the same time, further intelligence came in that another car was heading into our area that was linked to burglaries in Witney and Maidenhead. Officers found that car and two people were arrested. Ongoing enquiries are being carried out by our Priority Crime Team.

Events: In October 2022, Thames Valley Police and The Kimblewick Hunt ran a rural event for farmers and landowners in improving farm and land security at Cholsey Grange Farm, Ibstone. Topics included advice on: gated access, fly-tipping, hare coursing, CCTV systems and cattle rustling. Key information that came from the meeting was the need to control who comes onto your land and putting in place suitable obstacles to frustrate would-be criminals.

Insp Hutchins from the Rural Taskforce advised landowners of the importance of knowing locations for their land, in case the police were needed, and the use of What 3 Words as a way to identify locations to get a faster police response in an emergency. Insp Hutchins advised of the frustration when items are recovered from thieves but the police are unable to identify the owner or prove they are stolen. This highlights the need for property marking, which includes Data Tag for larger items, Cremark, Smartwater or engraving your house number and postcode, and the advantage in recording property on the National Property Register (www.immobilise.com)

This year we will be working with The Horse Trust, Slad Lane, Speen, HP27 0PP in having a Yard Owners Evening event on the 22nd February 2023 at 7 p.m. Helen Evans, Insp Stuart Hutchings and the resident vet Nicky Housby-Skeggs MRCVF B Vet Med., will be talking about rural crime prevention and Worming and Worm Resistance. If you are interested in attending, please book through helen.evans@thamesvalley.police.uk for this free event.

keep dogs on leads poster

To reduce sheep worrying, we will be running a campaign around livestock attacks. If you would like signs for your land please contact darren.walsh@thamesvalley.police.uk. Reviewing figures from last year, we are also going to be doing more work around hare coursing and working with farmers and landowners who’ve been targeted.

Crime and Trends

Nationally: there has been a sharp increase on attacks on solar farms with offenders damaging fencing, stealing panels and cables under the cover of darkness. It is feared this will become a more common offence as the UK turns to more sustainable power sources. Lead theft is still a profitable crime, with a 4% increase in the price of this resource. Churches are a common target with scaffolding and ladders being used frequently, that are already present on site.

The theft of plant machinery increased considerably in October and November. Reduced production by major manufacturers due to the cost of living crisis aligned with withdrawal from Russia have created an increase in demand, which is likely to drive on-going high crime volumes.

Locally: There were 128 rural crimes reported for South Buckinghamshire in 2022. Between July to November, there’s been a rise in rural crime for the last 2 years. Last year due to bird flu, many local farms didn’t source birds for the seasonal shoots which potentially affected the figures.

There was a wider variety of types of crimes being reported as rural crime in 2022. In 2021 burglaries were the highest rural offence type, at 18, which decreased to 12 in 2022 (4th overall, the majority of which were business burglaries rather than residential).

Criminal damage is again high on the list for rural reported crimes moving from 2nd position to 1st in 2022 with an increase of 6 occurrences. Criminal damage is often caused during other unlawful behaviour which is often the consequence of gaining access to land. Theft has also shown an increase of an additional 11 reported occurrences. Wildlife crime has also increased from 11 to 20 offences in 2022. Hare coursing is down from 12 to 8 incidents and has moved out of the top 5 rural offence types for 2022.

20212022
Burglary1st (18 occurences)Criminal Damage1st (24 occurences)
Criminal Damage2nd (15)Theft2nd (21)
Hare Coursing3rd (12)Wildlife Crime3rd (20)
Wildlife Crime4th (11)Burglary4th (12)
Theft5th (10)Arson5th (10)

Local Rural Incidents Oct – Dec 22:

Criminal damage to fencing and gates in Coleshill, Penn Street, Risborough and Beaconsfield. Electrics damage to a property in Hedgerley. An arson took place in Ibstone.

Hare coursing: There have been a number of reports of this and vehicles driving across fields at the following locations: Iver, Beaconsfield, Dorney, Coleshill, Iver Heath, Taplow, Fawley, Hambledon and Hyde End. There have been a number of attacks on pheasants in Marlow, Piddington and Wycombe, with large amounts of the birds being shot and left.

Dog incidents: Incident in Pednor of public order following dog owner being challenged about dogs being out of control. Sheep killed in Fingest on two occasions and in Cadmore End. 17 incidents reported by the shepherd of dogs chasing sheep in West Wycombe and Hughenden on one day!

Complaints of foxhunting in Longwick and Risborough.

Thefts: A hedge trimmer was stolen from a farm in Wexham. Seven goats were taken from a farm in Amersham. A mini digger was stolen from Latimer. A JCB 530 Forklift was stolen in Chalfont St Peter. An electric batter, for a gate, was stolen in Longwick. Fifty plus bales of hay were stolen in Kimble. A shoplifting occurred at Buckmoor End. A Land Rover was stolen from Lane End.

Burglary to Garden centre in Prestwood and to a lock up in Missenden. A Kubuta G21 tractor mower was stolen from Kimblewick. A farm in Little Marlow was targeted and jewellery stolen.

Stolen property found in Tatling End. Vehicles recovered and suspects are under investigation.

Crime Reduction Advice: To defeat criminals we need to work together with the most important partner – you! Please ensure that your site has set security procedures i.e.:

  • Site access – Is it secure? Are your gates locked?
  • Challenge stranger protocol: Does your team challenge strangers?
  • Could the Police identify your farm in an emergency? Is trhere a visible name sign? Have your recorded What3Words location markers for your fields to assist call handlers?
  • Serial numbers: Have you recorded the serial numbers of tools and plant? You can register, for free at www.immobilise.com. Have post codes been etched on tools? This is essential for police to identify stolen property, as it is likely to be moved around the country.
  • Key security: Could an intruder easily access keys and steal your plant machinery?
  • Quad bikes: These are highly wanted by criminals. Keep out of sight and store in locked location. Could items be blocked in or double locked?
  • Country Watch Signs: Available from the police if signed up to Countrywatch. Let people know that you do take your security seriously.

The above are basic, but effective, security procedures which should not cost you the earth and could save you a small packet.

Country Watch: Sign up to Thames Valley Alerts to receive crime and policing updates directly from your local Neighbourhood Team as well as more crime and policing issues. Sign up to the service online at: www.thamesvalleyalert.co.uk or speak with one of your Neighbourhood Policing Team.

countrywatch poster

Whats App: Following the launch of the Chiltern Rural Community Group Whats App Group is now up and running. The group is run by the public for you. There has been a lukewarm take-up from the community. If you would like to sign up please e-mail Nicole at clerk@pennparish.org.uk. There is the Land Watch Whats App group for South Bucks. Tabish from Beaconsfield Parish Council administrates this scheme and if you would like to join please e-mail Projectsupport@beaconsfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 01494 675173.

It is important to report all crimes. We need information to target resources and develop intelligence. Tell us if you think an offence has or is about to be committed. If it is happening now, ring 999. If you have information that does not require an immediate response report it to Thames Valley Police online or by calling 101. You can report or pass information about rural crime anonymously to the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

Stay safe and keep those eyes peeled.

Yours Sincerely,

PS 3675 Darren Walsh, Amersham Police Station, Amersham Neighbourhood Police Team
PS 7962 Ollie Brixey, Marlow Police Station, Wycombe Rural Neighbourhood Police Team
PC Emma Taylor, Marlow Police Station, Wycombe Rural Neighbourhood Police Team.

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