Farming equipment was recovered in Surrey by officers from Kent Police’s Rural Task Force within hours of it being reported stolen.
The hay tedder, used for haymaking, had been reported stolen from a farm in Southfleet, Dartford, on the evening of Monday 12 June 2023. Immediate enquiries were carried out and the property was tracked to Surrey where it was swiftly recovered along with a stolen post knocker.
Since the beginning of 2023, officers from the Rural Task Force (RTF) have recovered stolen property worth more than £280,000, from tools and farm machinery to vehicles and horseboxes. The dedicated team tackles and investigates rural crime and builds strong relationships with members of the rural community to help deter and detect offences.
Their work so far this year has led to 34 arrests, 35 stop and searches, 506 vehicle stop checks and the completion of 75 investigations. Incidents they have dealt with have also resulted in 112 vehicles being seized and 97 traffic offence reports being issued for reasons including driving without insurance, a licence or MOT and other motoring offences like speeding and driving without a seat belt or whilst being on a mobile phone.
The task force has also dealt with 182 wildlife-related incidents and 146 poaching reports.
Police Sergeant Darren Walshaw from the RTF said:
‘We work closely with partner agencies such as the National Farmers Union, the Environment Agency and RSPCA to build a clear picture of rural crime in Kent and organise a number of operations based on the seasonal pattern of offending. ‘Typical rural crimes reported to police include theft, fly-tipping, hare coursing and poaching and rural officers attend regular regional and national meetings to share expertise and good practice with other forces. ‘We have lots of powers we can use including traditional laws such as the Poaching Prevention Act and the Hunting Act as well as others such as the Road Traffic Act, powers to seize vehicles being used in an anti-social way and community protection orders. ‘Thefts of farming equipment, like this hay tedder, is not just upsetting for victims but it leaves a huge financial hole in a farming business and can be the end of someone’s livelihood. This is not acceptable and we will continue to do all we can to protect victims from crime.’
To find out more about rural crime or to report an incident visit the website.