Rural crime needs action

The vandalised slide in Rothbury
The vandalised slide in Rothbury

Police have been slammed for not taking enough action after a growing number of rural farm thefts.

Thieves have broken into sheds and outbuildings at numerous farms in Coquetdale and the surrounding area over the last few months.

And last week, at Rothbury Parish Council’s monthly meeting, Coun Steven Bridgett had a heated discussion with Rothbury police Sergeant Graham Vickers after reports that the Force was not doing enough to help victims.

Coun Bridgett said: “There is a growing number of farmers in my area that are coming to me extremely worried about what is going on.

“They are saying they feel extremely vulnerable and the impression they are getting is that this is a growing epidemic and there needs to be some action on it. A lot of people who have been affected feel that there has been no action from police.

“They want to see results and they want to see suspects.

“There seems to be the need for a more coordinated response, because at the moment it seems like the area is easy pickings.

“It is a growing epidemic and we need to stem it.”

But Sgt Vickers said that the police were taking action.

He said: “I acknowledge that it is a concern. We have paid visits to farms and we have had motor patrols stop people on the A1.

“If people have got issues of concern, feed them back to me and we can engage with them.

“We have actioned crime prevention where we are able to as well.”

But Coun Bridgett said that was not enough.

“The point I am trying to make is that there needs to be something more strategic from Northumbria Police,” he said.

“You need to find out were they are coming from.”

l Vandals defaced a slide in Rothbury's Riverside play area with obscene graffiti.

Resident Nicola Crane cleaned the piece of equipment, although Coun Bridgett is setting up a group to upgrade facilities.

However, he said: "Why should we bother to create better places for children to play if this is what happens to the equipment?"