Warning to would-be thieves in rural Northumberland

Hans Porksen, Northumberland NFU county Chairman; Sam Davies, Northumberland & North Durham county advisor; Chris Pearce, risk management services, NFU Mutual; Jayne Watson, group Secretary, Morpeth NFU Mutual; and Inspector Kevin Oates.
Hans Porksen, Northumberland NFU county Chairman; Sam Davies, Northumberland & North Durham county advisor; Chris Pearce, risk management services, NFU Mutual; Jayne Watson, group Secretary, Morpeth NFU Mutual; and Inspector Kevin Oates.

Police, the NFU and insurers NFU Mutual have joined forces to help highlight the strength of Farmwatch across rural Northumberland.

Together they have produced 300 new Farmwatch signs for mounting to gates, fences and farm buildings to send a clear message to would-be thieves.

The collaboration comes as a result of an increasingly close working relationship between the police and the local farming community. A regular rural crime forum has also been established, bringing farmers and police officers together every three months to discuss issues and share information.

Farmwatch in Northumberland is a long-standing success with hundreds of farmers right across the county signed up to receive regular updates and information about criminal activity in the area.

Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Oates said: "The new and updated signs are perfect for spreading the message about Farmwatch and the work we are doing in our rural communities to keep them safe. Farmwatch is a really useful tool in the fight against rural crime. It allows us to be in constant contact with our most rural communities.

"I'd urge anyone who lives in rural Northumberland to sign up and play their part. We need as many of our rural residents signed up as possible as they are our eyes and ears."

This is a view shared by NFU Northumberland county adviser, Samantha Davies, who said: "Rural crime is a significant national issue and the NFU has been focused for several years on building better links with police forces across the country. We have just produced a rural crime manifesto for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and that highlights the importance of good communication to encourage maximum community engagement.

"In Northumberland, we are forging ahead and this latest collaboration shows what can be achieved by working together. Good signage is crucial to the success of Farmwatch as a visible reminder to would-be thieves that their activities will not go unnoticed. These signs are not cheap, but by pooling our resources we are now able to provide them free of charge to Farmwatch members."

Rural insurance specialists NFU Mutual is also very active in supporting Farmwatch and other crime prevention initiatives across the country. Agent Jayne Watson, based in Morpeth, said: "Every year we produce national rural crime statistics so we are only too aware of how important crime prevention measures are. We work closely with the local farming community and are only too pleased to contribute to the success of Farmwatch in Northumberland."

Farmwatch members wanting a sign should contact either their local policing team or their NFU local group secretary. Anyone interested in joining the Farmwatch scheme should contact their local policing team on 101.