Hi-tech operation to tackle rural crime makes its mark
A NEW police operation has been launched in the Durham Dales to deter thieves.
Operation Cobra uses special technology called Dot Peen to engrave equipment so it is permanently marked and easily identifiable if stolen.
It has been funded by the Weardale Area Action Partnership (AAP) in partnership with the Teesdale Action Partnership.
It comes as figures from the National Farmers’ Union Mutual revealed County Durham and Darlington experienced a 23 per cent reduction in rural crime in 2019, with rural crime costing £434,883 last year, compared to £563,248 in 2018. Across the whole of the UK last year, rural crime cost £54.3million.
Inspector for Crook, Teesdale and Weardale, Ed Turner, said: “The dales are already a very safe place to live and work and by working in partnership with the AAPs, we have a good opportunity to make it even safer.
“I would encourage anyone who wants to take advantage of the service to get in touch with officers.”
Cllr Anita Savory, chairwoman of Weardale AAP, said: “Any crime impacts on the farmer, their livelihood, workforce and community.
“The farmers work hard 365 days of the year to serve the community so anything to help them is great news.”
Angela Maddison, from Utass (Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services), added: “The Weardale and Teesdale Action Partnerships have come together to support the rural crime agenda and we feel that the marking of agricultural items with a unique serial number will deter thieves.
“Supporting and funding a pragmatic solution for both AAPs, it will reduce the displacement of crime and the worry of becoming a victim of crime.”
Emma Spry, also from Utass, said: “Statistics show that Teesdale and Weardale are one of the safest places in the country to live in relation to crime.
“That said we are well aware that every single crime bites hard in someone’s livelihood and causes anxiety in the community.
“Anything we can do to make it more difficult for criminals, has to be a positive move. We welcome this initiative and fully support it, let’s all work together to make our area safer.”
Police will be contacting anyone who has been a victim of burglary to offer them the free service but it is available to anyone in the dales.
Email PCSO Robson at Stanhope at gavin.robson @durham.pnn.police.uk or PCSO Steven Richardson at Barnard Castle at steven. firstname.lastname@example.org lice.uk for more information.