Police and farmers tackle rural crime in Lincolnshire

Police and farmers have stepped up a campaign to tackle rural crime in Lincolnshire, including tractor thefts and offences against animals.

The move comes as officers try to deal with a rise in the number of incidents.

During a nine-month period 40 tractors were stolen from farms, while 530 hare coursing incidents were reported from August and the start of December.

More than 50 farmers have met officers to discuss ways of preventing poaching and other crime.

'Disregard for property'

PC Nick Willey, of the force's Wildlife and Rural Crime Team, said: "Farmers will wake up in the morning and find wheelings across their land and freshly-sown crops.

"Gamekeepers that are out on night patrol will ring in to say they've got people with dogs, and these people their sport is to come out into Lincolnshire - in the day hare coursing and night time deer poaching."

Paddy Tomlinson, farm manager at Lockwood Estate in Scampton, near Lincoln, organised the meeting and said it was important to take action.

"People were tired of seeing the general disregard for property, as farmers we were also hearing about certain farms which had lots of damage done.

"That was the main reason we decided to contact Lincolnshire Police - to improve the communication between the police and ourselves."

Farmers and police are hoping to form an official group which meets regularly to keep rural crime under control.

PC Willey said: "There's a lot of hard work going on by officers on the ground. It's a sparse and big county but with the operations we're doing, we are combating or trying to combat rural crime."

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