A new network has been launched in England and Wales to help combat countryside crime.
The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN) aims to give assistance to residents, farmers and businesses in order to prevent crime in rural communities.
Endorsed by 18 Police and Crime Commissioners, it hopes to unite rural areas across the country by looking at operations in various communities, sharing best practices and working more closely with local residents.
This will include free property-marking materials, allowing people to mark valuable possessions in a visible manner that will deter thieves.
Deterrent signage and stickers will also be made available for those who have heating oil tank at their premises to protect their property.
Nick Payne from the Rural Services Network, a non-for-profit organization that came up with the idea for a NRCN, said: “The impact of rural crime is just as serious as it is elsewhere.
“There are strong links to serious organised gangs in relation to some classifications of rural crime.
“For example, theft of agricultural plant and machinery as well as the availability of drugs alongside more conventional issues such as wildlife and heritage crime.
“There is good collaborative work already occurring in some localities but it is widely acknowledged that sharing of best practice is patchy and urgently needs to be improved.”
Once established, the network is also set to provide an online resource for police, community officers and members of the public to interact and share information, as well as a database to help report crime and suspicious behaviour.