A NEW campaign has begun aimed at helping Ashbourne’s farmers tackle rural crime.
The Farm Watch scheme, which encourages people living and working on farms to spread crime prevention advice, witness appeals and information through text messages, emails and voice messages is designed to encompass a network of hundreds of people across the county.
The free service, which launched on Monday is being led by police and partners including Derbyshire Dales District Council, Derbyshire County Council and the National Farmers’ Union.
Superintendent Graham McLaughlin said: “The whole point of Farm Watch is to protect our rural communities by sharing information as quickly as possible.
“Farmers and remote properties are often targeted by criminals but we can help to put a stop to that by getting early warning messages and advice out to people in an instant.
“It’s also a fantastic way for Farm Watch members to talk directly to us, to give us updates on problems in their area and to help us shape how we tackle rural crime.
“Together with the community, who are the eyes and ears out in the countryside, we hope to be able to shut the gate on rural crime and ensure that the risk of becoming a victim is cut with it.”
Derbyshire Police has also borrowed a tractor which has been liveried in police colours and is expected to be making appearances at shows throughout the summer, including Ashbourne Show, to highlight the scheme’s aims.
Members of Farm Watch will be given access to a text, email or voicemail alert service as well as crime prevention advice to farmers and landowners and a property marking scheme to make it harder for thieves to dispose of stolen goods.
To sign up to Farm Watch, visit www.derbyshirealert.co.uk or call 101.