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Officers from Northamptonshire Police’s Rural Crime Team joined their counterparts from Cambridgeshire Constabulary to reunite members of the rural communities with their GPS navigation systems which had been stolen.
A total of 21 devices were recovered and seized from an address in Peterborough following the arrest of two men on suspicion of conspiracy to steal. The men aged 31 and 24 have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
Rural Crime Officers from both forces were able to return the property last Friday (November 18) with the support of agricultural dealers and suppliers, who helped to identify the rightful owners via the devices manufacturer details.
PC Hutch Hutchings of the Northamptonshire Police Rural Crime Team said: “With equipment usually moved out of the county quickly, we work very closely with our neighbouring forces, both sharing information and intelligence, to locate and recover property which has been stolen from Northamptonshire or across the county borders.
“We hope this reassures our rural communities that if they report a crime, we will work with not only our neighbouring forces but our colleagues across the UK, to take positive action and investigate fully to bring those responsible for causing misery to our communities to justice.
“Having any equipment stolen is not just an inconvenience. It can have a huge impact on members of our rural community carrying out their everyday work as well as their finances at a time when we are all feeling the pressures associated with the cost of living.
“Although on this occasion we have been able to return these GPS navigation systems with the rightful owners, this has taken weeks of enquiries to establish lawful ownership of the devices as not all were listed by suppliers.
“We would urge anyone who uses GPS navigation systems in the farming or construction industry to remove all devices from machinery or vehicles when not in use. This would stop criminals from being able to steal them so easily.
“There are other simple, key prevention measures owners can take, such as clearly and permanently marking possessions, ideally with their surname and postcode. This makes them less attractive to criminals as well as easier to return, if recovered.
“Keeping a detailed, up-to-date list of all your equipment is also important, so for navigation systems this would include noting the brand and any manufacturers reference numbers which could help make it easily identifiable.”
Tips for protecting agricultural equipment and vehicles:
• Clearly mark equipment and vehicles with your postcode and surname
• Remove equipment, if possible, and store it securely
• Keep an Asset Register to enable quick access to details when required
• Install CCTV and security devices around your locations. The use of PIR Alarms and Cameras enables the police to know the exact time an offence has taken place
• Keep the most vulnerable items of equipment under lock and key if you can. Locked barns, workshops and yards offer greater security
• Install electric gates with remote access via phone call or fob. This can prevent any unauthorised person from gaining access to your property when you’re not about
• Look at other access points to your site, not just the main drive and consider if these are still required. If not, secure them or remove them.
Anyone with information about rural crime is asked to report it by calling Northamptonshire Police on 101 or online via the www.northants.police.uk website. Always call 999 in the event of an emergency. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
More information on how to protect your property is available at www.northants.police.uk