Crimestoppers launches appeal to encourage more people to report wildlife crime
A charity has launched an appeal for anonymous information to help protect rural communities across the East Midlands.
Crimestoppers is appealing for everyone to play their part in stopping rural crime as more people visit the countryside during the pandemic.
In the year to April 2021, Crimestoppers nationally received nearly 2,700 anonymous reports about rural crime.
While this is a 14% increase on the year before, it suggests a degree of under-reporting, which is why the charity is encouraging more people to speak up.
Lydia Patsalides, East Midlands regional manager at Crimestoppers, said: “Our charity knows how damaging crime in the countryside can be: to local communities, to rural businesses, to farmers, wildlife and the environment.
“Every day we hear from people who are in the know about those involved in damaging our beautiful countryside across the East Midlands, but there is so much more we can do.
"By telling us anonymously what you know, whether you live in or are visiting rural areas, your information can help make all the difference.
“A team of professionals working at our charity’s UK Contact Centre anonymise all information received – to ensure the person giving the details is never identified - before passing it on to police to investigate.
"Your voice really can make a difference. Working together, we can help protect our precious countryside and rural environment, communities and businesses from the harm caused by these criminal gangs.”
From its latest claims’ statistics issued last week, NFU Mutual estimates that rural theft cost the UK a staggering £43.3m in 2020. In Lincolnshire alone, it cost £2,479,792, making it the worst affected county in the UK.
Crimestoppers has been working with Mitie and Neighbourhood Watch to help raise the profile of rural crime. They want people to know what it is, why it’s a problem and what the public can do to help.
The charity’s 4-week local and national campaign is supported by NFU Mutual, RSPCA, Countryside Alliance, NFU, Openreach, FireStoppers, Link, National Wildlife Crime Unit, Environment Agency, CLA and the Angling Trust.
John Hayward-Cripps, chief executive of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said: “With headlines often focused on crime in the cities, it is easy to forget rural crime, but rural crime is increasing and is a serious issue.
"From hare coursing to machinery theft, the impact of rural crime on victims’ lives and livelihood can be enormous, with victims often left with long-term anxiety. Together we can stop it.”
To report rural crime anonymously, visit the charity’s website, Crimestoppers-uk.org, or call their 24/7 UK Contact Centre on freephone 0800 555 111, 365 days of the year.
In an emergency, always call 999.