Police commissioner pledges to get to grips with rural crime

Jason Ablewhite tries his hand at leek harvesting

Jason Ablewhite tries his hand at leek harvesting - Credit: Archant

Police and crime commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, met with farmers and rural businesses to better understand the impact of rural crime in the county.

The commissioner was joined by Hannah Padfield, National Farmers Union Cambridgeshire county advisor, and Stefan Gidlow and Stephen Juggins from Cambridgeshire Countryside Watch to learn more about the knock-on effect of such crimes.

Mr Ablewhite said: “The visit was a timely opportunity for me to understand the devastating effect rural crime can have on communities as I pull together my police and crime plan.

“Rural crime continues to be a big problem in Cambridgeshire, threatening local livelihoods, putting pressure on policing resources and increasing the fear of crime within our rural communities.

“It’s more important than ever that we work together to continue to address this threat.”

The constabulary set up a Rural Crime Action Team in 2015 as a response to concerns from the local community.

Chief Inspector James Sutherland said: “A strong message is being sent to criminals – Cambridgeshire is closed to hare coursers – we will seize your cars, your phones, your dogs and send you to court.”

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The dedicated team of rural officers combat hare coursing and poaching, as well as using specialist knowledge to deal with other aspects of rural crime including plant and tractor theft, heritage crime, arson, wildlife crime and illegal raves.