Friday, 27 September 2013

Day 39: Rural residents turn out to speakers’ event at Countrywide Chipping Norton to talk sheep

On Wednesday night (25/9), the Countrywide store in Chipping Norton held a speakers event about various issues around sheep and other agricultural issues. The event was attended by 76 farmers, vets and some of the biggest landowners in the Country. 

Naturally, the 100 days of action team went along and PCSO Angie Alford presented some prevention advice around livestock thefts and answered questions about recent thefts of sheep in the area. 

If you missed the event, here is some advice about protecting your livestock:

  • Report any suspicious activity to the police straight away via the 24-hour non-emergency number 101 or if it is a crime in progress call 999. Encourage all farm workers and staff to do the same!
  • Check livestock regularly. If they are making more noise than usual, this could mean something has disturbed them. Check the fields and surrounding areas for signs that someone may be in the fields.
  • Check security of boundary fencing and hedging. Make regular checks to ensure fences haven’t been breached and make sure any damage is repaired as soon as possible
  • Ear tags, horn brands, freeze marking and tattooing make animals more easily identifiable

DAYS 37 and 38: Mobile police station stops at Burford Garden Centre and oil thefts are of particular concern

On Monday (23/9) the 100 days of action team covering Cherwell and West Oxfordshire policing areas set up the mobile police station at Burford Garden Centre to speak to passers by about their crime concerns.
Oil and diesel thefts seemed to have been of particular concern. Here is some advice and ideas about how to protect fuel tanks. Alternatively, OFTEC offer advice and guidance for those who use and store oil at their premises.

The position of the tank has a significant effect on its vulnerability:
  • If it’s close to the house and overlooked then a thief may consider the chances of being seen too high.
  • If it’s close to the road or other access points then it will be an easier target.
  • Hiding it behind the garage or other structure is commonplace but can be an advantage to the thief as they are likely to be well hidden also
  • If tanks are to be stored in an outbuilding then there are strict regulations which must be followed and advice should be sought from the Fire Service and OFTEC.
More security measures:
  • Consider using control switches to control the flow of oil and isolate the electricity supply when the tank is not in use.
  • Consider using oil level gauge alarms: These remote control alarms activate if the tank level suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full.
  • Consider using Proximity GSM alarms: These are battery operated motion sensor alarms, which can alert designated mobile phones when motion activity has been detected around the tank
  • Consider CCTV: This can be set up to watch over an isolated tank and may be a deterrent.
  • Defensive planting is nature's way of helping reduce crime: Thieves will not want to fight their way through or over a thorny hedge. Ripped clothing or blood may help the police identify an offender.
  • Consider restricting access to the tank with walls, fences and trellising. This should be constructed in close proximity to the tank.
  • Consider protecting the tank with metal cages, grills and guards, these are available with lockable access points. Ensure someone is available when the tank needs to be filled.
  • Closed shackle padlocks offer the most resistance to the bolt cropper
  • Security Lighting: If your tank is visible from your home, this can deter thieves. Low level “dusk til dawn" or PIR motion detection lighting can be effective crime deterrent.
  • Remember to check the oil level in your tank regularly, look for any spilt fuel, marks on the locks or anything else suspicious.
The Oil Save website also offers further advice.

Visiting farms offering Country Watch advice

Checking tractors fitted out with CESAR security technology

Tuesday (24/9) saw the Woodstock neighbourhood team patrol local farms handing out comprehensive crime prevention packs which cover a number of issues farmers and land owners have around protecting their farms, machinery and livestock.

The crime reduction advisor for the area has also spent the week visiting repeat victims of rural crime to offer advice about their main concerns and carry out farm security checks and talk about how to better protect property and land from thieves and trespassers. 

Whilst police officers appreciate farms are busy working environments, they are encouraging farmers and their staff to secure gates and ensure their farms are not left open to opportunistic theft by locking vehicles and where possible, keep items which may be vulnerable, out of sight. 

Take a look at our 12 point check list to get an idea of some of the information your neighbourhood team and crime reduction officer can offer you:

·         Nameplate: is your house/farm sign displayed at the entrance?

·         Fire hydrant: Where is the nearest fire hydrant?

·         Water supplies: Location of available additional water supplies for example  tanks, ponds, rivers

·         Evacuation plan: Is a written animal evacuation plan available at all times?

·         Dangerous animals: Are stables/ stalls/ fields identifiable if you are not there?

·         Flammable risks: What materials do you have on site and are they suitably stored away from fire risks?

·         Chemicals: What chemicals are stored, how many and where? Are they marked with the relevant safety instructions?

·         Fuel/ diesel: Are supplies/ tanks/ pipes clearly marked?

·         Staff: Are your staff aware of emergency procedures and contact numbers?

·         Housekeeping: Are your electrics, workshops and yards maintained and kept tidy?

·         Public: Are you hosting the general public on your property? How many are likely to be present?

·         Agricultural buildings: How many buildings do you have on the site? What size are they and what is their current use, i.e. animal, crops, hay, chemicals, machinery?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

DAY 36: West Berkshire Neighbourhood Policing Team visit the Royal County of Berkshire Show

Members of West Berkshire NHP, the Rural PCSO for West Berkshire and Neighbourhood Co-ordinator hosted a rural and wildlife stand at this year’s show which took place at the Showground in Chieveley last weekend (21-22/9). Joining them on the stand was a representative from Horse Watch, Helen Evans and a representative from CESAR.

The team had a very successful two days and signed up over 120 people to Thames Valley Alert, registered 7 people on Country Watch and handed out Country Watch signs and packs of information.  The representative from CESAR gave out advice on property marking tractors and agricultural equipment and Helen Evans, Horse Watch spoke to around 100 people over the two days and gave advice about tack marking and arranged a number of visits to residents to mark tack.

Signing up to Thames Valley Alerts
For the children (and some dad’s!) the police tractor and 4x4  proved to be a big hit as did the children’s colouring competition to win a family ticket to Bucklebury Farm Park.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

DAYS 34 & 35: Three men arrested for poaching in South Oxfordshire

Last Thursday (19/9) three men were arrested on suspicion of poaching offences and possession of an offensive weapon after being stopped by police officers on the Ridgway in Moulsford, Wallingford.

Police stopped a vehicle at approximately 11pm after under suspicious circumstances during 100 days of action patrols. After searching the car, a catapult was found which was subsequently seized along with the car.

The men, aged 30, 28 and 23 are all from Tadley, Hampshire and have been released on bail until the 22 October.

On Friday (20/9), teams across the South and Vale visited Millets and surrounding farm visits for a day of reinforcing crime prevention advice. 

Property marking valuable farming property!

The numbers for the day were:

  • ·         92 people signed up to Thames Valley Alert

  • ·         6 Smartwater kits sold

  • ·         27 bikes marked

  • ·         41 property marking kits given out

  • ·         9 purse bells given out to elderly people living in rural locations

  • ·         20 farm visits

  • ·         8 crime prevention folders delivered to farmers/ landowners

  • ·         20 Country Watch gate signs displayed