Northumbria Police has responded to concerns about its Farmwatch service, aimed at tackling rural crime.
It follows complaints made by Wooler Parish Council chairman Mark Mather that it was a poorer service since recent reductions in police station opening hours.
He had tried on two occasions to call the Farmwatch phone number, at Berwick police station, but both times there had been no answer.
“It’s no good sending an email about it five days later,” he had told parish councillors at the August meeting.
Following the meeting, a spokesman for Northumbria Police responded: “Officers in Northumberland have been made aware of issues in recent weeks relating to the Farmwatch service.
“We would like to apologise to those who have been unable to report any incidents using the Farmwatch line.
“Police can confirm that this temporary loss of service is not connected to any changes to the Force’s opening hours.
“A new process has now been put in place to ensure that our rural communities are able to quickly and efficiently report any criminal or suspicious activity.”
Northumbria Police’s Farmwatch community-messaging service began in 2008 and has now grown with monthly news and regular crime-prevention advice bulletins to more than 3,000 people across the county and beyond.