Last Sunday and Monday (15 and 16/12) saw local gamekeepers and farmers patrol with officers around rural Wokingham for a couple of evenings of combating rural crime.
On the west side of the Wokingham local policing area, seven members of the public patrolled with the officers after attending a briefing at 7.30pm at the Finchampstead Memorial Hall.
Although there wasn’t much to report on throughout the first evening (due to the pouring rain, most likely), a couple of suspicious vehicles were stopped and checked but all was in order. One man who was stopped, was actually pleased to see the crew out checking vehicles as his father had recently been a victim of theft from his van.
By 1am, everyone gathered back at the hall for a debrief and overall everyone enjoyed the evening and a few even wanted to continue throughout the night!
Throughout the second evening, the crews received a report from a resident about a suspicious vehicle racing around the lanes at Carter’s Hill in Arborfield.
A couple of weeks ago, a Thames Valley Alert was sent out to gamekeepers and landowners in the area which allowed the Reading University Gamekeepers to be involved in the operation and provide some important intelligence about what has been happening on their land.
While patrolling their land, the Reading Uni gamekeepers reported a suspicious vehicle on their private land. It turned out the vehicle in question had been reported previously for poaching and had been causing a nuisance to local landowners. The crew attended and the vehicle was seized.
Other vehicles using all the byways were all stopped and checked.
Rural specialist officer PCSO Suzie Carr said: “The feedback from the rural community is very positive and as some of them have joined us now for the third time, encouraging.
“It is seen as a very positive step forward in the fight against rural crime. It is great that everyone is realising the local community have a part to play in assisting police to catch the people that commit these rural crimes.”