Rural crime fears laid bare

Rural crime was discussed between police and residents.
Rural crime was discussed between police and residents.

An alarming spate of crime in rural areas has become such a concern that angry residents may take the law into their own hands, it has been claimed.

The chilling warning was issued during a special public meeting in Whittingham last Thursday, which was called on the back of a string of thefts from farms and isolated areas across Coquetdale and Whittingham Vale.

Hosted by Northumbria Police, and attended by Superintendent Mick Paterson, the forum prompted a frank discussion about rural crime.

And Rothbury Parish Council chairman Mark Gilson said: “What worries me is one of these days members of the public will take the law into their own hands because there is an underlying level of anger. I believe that is the danger if some of these people get caught by certain members of our community.

“I cannot remember when more people have been more worried about what is happening than they are now.”

Graham Vickers, Sergeant for Rothbury and Coquetdale, urged people not to be alarmist and said it was important for the police and public to work together to ‘make an impact on this little blip at the moment’.

But Katie Arkle, whose eight-year-old son was left heartbroken after thieves stole his quad bike from the family home near to Thropton – as reported in the Gazette in April – hit back.

She said: “It is not a little blip, it is a pattern. There have been 26 incidents in the area since February. Rural crime has a huge impact.”

Resident Richard Bateson said he was prepared to finance CCTV cameras on the four main entrances and exits to the Callaly Estate.

He said: “We have got to be more proactive and CCTV cameras could cover all sorts of things.”

Meanwhile, resident David Brown said that police need more resources on the front-line and this needed to be communicated to the people at the top, including Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.