Rural Crime Team PC Charlie Jones said:
“We saw a surge in reports of quad bike thefts in 2019 and collaboratively launched Operation Maple in response to this,” she said.
“This operation was twofold – criminal investigations were carried out into reported crimes by response officers, while at the same time, our Powys Rural Crime Team, Crime Prevention Team and neighbourhood policing officers worked on a crime prevention element, making it more difficult for criminals to target rural properties.
“As part of this problem-solving initiative, we obtained over £6,000 to support victims of rural crime with prevention and an on-going target-hardening programme.”
The team invested in 500 kits to mark agricultural equipment, with an emphasis on quad bikes. Details of marked items are stored on a database, making it easier to return stolen property to its owner.
In partnership with the National Farmers’ Union and Farmers’ Union of Wales, security signs have been provided to farm owners and advice has been given on installing additional security measures where needed.
PC Andy Edwards, of Brecon NPT, has supported the team with the initiative.
He said: “Our visits have been well received, with the visible police presence and additional support appreciated by those who have previously been targeted by criminals.
“Engagement with property owners during these visits has reinforced the work carried out by investigating officers, has provided an opportunity to discuss any concerns and has encouraged the implementation of measures to hinder would-be thieves.
“These visits will promote security awareness and preventative measures within our rural communities, and send a message to prospective criminals that action is being taken against rural crime.”
Powys Crime Prevention Team lead PC Jayne Briggs added:
“We want to support our rural communities by providing the best advice possible.
“Using the principles of crime reduction, we are able to target harden properties by providing security advice during visits; remove the means of crime by ensuring items that could assist offenders are locked away; reduce the payoff from rural thefts by forensically marking and post-coding property; improving surveillance; and ensuring farmers and members of the community feel confident to report suspicious people or vehicles.”
Dafydd Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner was pleased to hear about the work being carried out.
“I have previously highlighted my continual commitment to supporting Dyfed-Powys’ Rural Crime Team, and it is very reassuring to hear of the crime prevention activity currently taking place in Powys,” he said.
“It is important that we share knowledge and best practice throughout our rural communities, just as it is vital that these communities are aware that such initiatives are taking place – spread the word.
“I am confident that Dyfed-Powys Police is making a big difference in fighting rural crime in this area, and that they will continue to do so.”