Scheme aims to tackle 
problem of farm thefts

PC Nicki Tipping with Richard Hilsdon of Boycott Farm, Stowe.'130213M-A667
PC Nicki Tipping with Richard Hilsdon of Boycott Farm, Stowe.'130213M-A667

Farmers are being invited to take advantage of a new initiative to tackle rural crime.

The scheme, launched this week by Thames Valley Police and Bucks County Council, aims to stop farmers from being left thousands of pounds out of pocket due to the theft of valuable farm machinery.

The police and the county council are working in partnership to offer discounted CESAR plant identification systems and Selecta DNA property marking kits to the Bucks farming community.

Farms are increasingly targeted by thieves, due to the high value of metal and plant machinery, including tractors, trailers and quad bikes, held on the land combined with the remoteness of many farms.

The DNA kits will enable people to permanently mark any of their property with a special solution containing a unique DNA code.

If a marked item is stolen and recovered, police can analyse the code and trace it back to the registered keeper.

Deterrent signage will also go up at properties using the DNA technology, warning possible burglars that CESAR and Selecta DNA are in use.

Neighbourhood police inspector Emma Garside said: “We recognise that farms are vulnerable locations and we’re being proactive.

“We’ll be going out to farmers in locations which have been suffering from farm-related thefts. We will be giving crime prevention advice and farmers will receive free Selecta DNA marker kits.

“It’s far easier to prevent a crime than to detect it.”

As part of the initiative, farmers in the county are being offered the chance to have a piece of their farm machinery CESAR marked at the significantly discounted rate of £59.50 plus VAT, a 60 per cent saving on the suggested retail price.

Further items can be marked at the standard Thames Valley Police discount of 20 per cent .

About 500 farms across the county will benefit from the scheme, which also offers rural crime prevention packs and face-to-face visits from local neighbourhood officers to vulnerable residents or repeat victims of crime.

Rural crime comes in many different forms, from offences against wildlife, such as hare coursing, to theft of fuels including diesel and heating oils and stealing metal.

Insp Garside said: “We want to continue to reduce crime across our rural communities and reassure local people that this type of offending matters as much to us as it does to them.

“The use of forensic marking products sends a clear message to potential criminals that we will identify them, signs and stickers act as a visual deterrent to prevent thefts occurring in the first place.”