Nottinghamshire Police cracking down on thefts of horse boxes in Newark and Sherwood
Nottinghamshire Police is taking extra steps to stop thefts of horse box trailers.
The force has introduced a simple but effective initiative to help stop thieves in their tracks.
Trailer owners across the county have been supplied with stickers designed to help highlight when a theft might be taking place.
The highly visible stickers (above) can be placed on the side of trailers and say: ‘police – stop if seen moving between 10pm and 5am’.
As legitimate users of the boxes typically only use the trailers to transport horses and livestock during the day, seeing them being moved at night can be deemed suspicious.
The tamper-proof stickers are also extremely hard for offenders to remove quickly during a theft, so offer a handy way of alerting officers to criminal activity.
Chief Inspector Heather Maelor, Nottinghamshire Police’s rural crime lead, said: “The force has received several reports of these kind of thefts taking place, due to supply issues making these items very sought after.
“This has been recognised as an issue across the region, so our officers have been making extra efforts to combat this theft trend and deter criminals.
“As part of this, we’ve introduced the stickers, which can then be placed on horse boxes and are difficult for offenders to take off quickly.
“We know that most of these offences take place overnight, at a time when these trailers aren’t typically in use, so they can offer a simple but effective way of alerting officers and the wider public that a crime is taking place.”
This is just one of the many tactics used by the force to combat rural crime, with a string of enforcement activity taking place that has resulted in the recovery of stolen horse trailers and subsequent criminal investigations.
Officers have been visiting farms to hand out the stickers and offer security advice, while they were also distributed at the force’s inaugural Rural Community Showcase at Newark Showground on 16 April.
The successful event focused on the work being done by the force to tackle rural crime, with officers also undergoing training on ways to identify plant and farm machinery theft.
Other Nottinghamshire Police initiatives have included three officers being appointed for Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe, all of whom are specially qualified to identify stolen agricultural vehicles.
Inspector Maelor said: “Our recent Rural Community Showcase offered a great opportunity for our officers to engage with the equine community and discuss the issues that matter most to them.
“We know that theft of horse box trailers is a serious issue for members of the rural community that can impact livelihoods, so we have redoubled our efforts to do whatever we can to crackdown on this type of offending.
“As part of this, we have also relaunched the ‘Nottinghamshire Police Horse Watch’ page on Facebook, where the public can get advice and support.
“It’s important that anyone who spots any suspicious activity, relating to horse box thefts or other rural crime matters, reports it to the police straight away.
“We’d much rather come out and find that it’s nothing to worry about than not be there at the time.”
Caroline Henry, Nottinghamshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "We want to deter criminals from stealing horse boxes in the first place with these stickers as part of our efforts to tackle rural and wildlife crime.
"Part of our response is seeking to address the concerns that rural communities tell us about, which recently was concerns over a spate of horse box thefts.
"These stickers are a direct response to these concerns and demonstrate how we are continuing to listen and respond to residents' concerns."