Suspicious activity in rural areas – how and what to report

News from Northumbria Police
News from Northumbria Police

Police are reminding the county’s rural residents and the farming community what information is useful when reporting suspicious activity in the countryside.

When telephoning the police, be prepared to give an accurate description of what is happening.

This information not only assists the attending officer know what they are looking for, but it also helps police gather evidence and progress investigations.

Here are details of what information is useful:

People with dogs

l Full description of persons, including numbers and accents – this will help determine the areas the suspects may be travelling from;

l Try to recall anything said and write it down as soon as possible. A lot of investigations revolve around intent and motive for being on land. What has been said to landowners/witnesses can assist in that process when people are interviewed;

l Description of type of clothing can be useful in determining a person’s intent;

l Make a note of the number of dogs and their breed. It is also useful to know if they have been freshly run, covered in mud, blood, burrs, etc.


l It is crucial that you do not just obtain the registration number, but make, model, any damage or identifying features. Number plates are often taken off before suspects commit offences, however, this is less of a problem if police have a full description;

l Direction of travel will help in the correct deployment of police resources;

l Grid reference, GPS coordinates or local landmarks will also help if vehicles are seen away from roads;

l To maximise forensic opportunities, consider preserving tyre or footmarks by covering with a plastic sheet or bag.