WALES’ four police forces have linked-up to drive down heritage crime with a stark warning – once it is gone it cannot be returned.
Heritage crime harms historic assets and sites, and includes illegal metal detecting, or nighthawking, and off-roading on such sites.
To try and prevent the further loss of important pieces of heritage Dyfed-Powys Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police are launching Op Heritage Cymru on 21st June 2022.
The initiative is the first of its kind in the UK and is aimed at raising awareness and preventing heritage crime across Wales.
Inspector Reuben Palin, from Dyfed-Powys Police said: “People are rightly proud of their heritage but unfortunately there is a minority that don’t give it the respect it deserves.
“Heritage crime is a serious issue that can have a serious negative effect on our communities.
“Our heritage and the small pieces of history that are broken down or lost to heritage crime, can never be replaced, so we want to make people think about their actions and discourage anyone from doing it.”
Police teams will be working with CADW, Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales, National Parks, National Trust, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, archaeological trusts and various volunteers across the sector to work towards a greater understanding of heritage crime.
To coincide with the launch, police cadets across Wales are being trained in heritage crime, along with training Rural Crime and Neighbourhood Policing teams.
Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable, Dr Richard Lewis, said: “Our heritage is what makes us who we are so it is vital that we protect these landmarks and landscapes for future generations.
“It may seem like small crimes to those involved but it is not. Anything that is taken or damaged in the process of heritage crime is irreplaceable. So, once they are gone they are lost forever.
“As police forces we are showing our commitment to this issue so we hope the public will support us by being our eyes and ears and reporting it to us when they see people committing heritage crimes.”
Heritage crime is any unlawful activity which harms historic assets including buildings, monuments, parks, gardens and landscapes.
Some of these assets are protected by specific criminal offences but heritage crime often takes the form of ‘general’ offences such as theft,

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