Thousands of pounds have been invested in County Durham farm security

A recent spate of GPS thefts from quads and tractors has sparked concern in the Upper Tees area.

The Durham Districts branch of National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual has now donated £6,000 to hire a rural watch coordinator to oversee the area.

There is hope that the new role can reduce the number of thefts and the extent of damage to property in the region.

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Claire Gilson, NFU Mutual Districts Agent in Durham, said: “As a member-centric mutual mutual, we know how extremely disruptive and worrying crime in the countryside can be.

“Especially farmers in remote areas feel vulnerable to criminals roaming the countryside looking for theft opportunities.

“In some places it has gotten so bad that farmers are barricading themselves in their own farms like a fortress, and there have been threats of arson and physical harm to farmers if they confronted the criminals, stealing their livelihoods or damaging them .” farms.

“Thanks to the Rural Watch coordinators, suspicious activity can be reported very quickly and reported to the police. It also gives farmers peace of mind that they can talk to local people who understand the issues they face.

“UTASS is doing an excellent job of looking after local farmers and we are delighted to be able to support his work with the donation.”

The donation comes from NFU Mutual’s Agency Giving Fund, which enables its 295 local branches across the UK to support local causes in the areas they serve.

Bob Danby, manager of UTASS said: “The Rural Watch programs are most effective at alerting local farmers and police to crime – but it depends on having experienced coordinators on hand to provide information very much to be exchanged quickly.”

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“For example, after a quad bike was stolen from a remote farm, Rural Watch members were able to report sightings of the getaway vehicle more than 15 miles away, allowing police to stop and arrest it.

“This donation strengthens the coordination team. As well as sharing information, the coordinators work closely with other Rural Watch programs and police officers to help them understand agriculture and crime in the countryside.

“They are also increasingly sharing best practices with other farm and rural monitoring groups trying to replicate what has evolved over 30 years.” Thousands of pounds have been invested in County Durham farm security

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