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Kent Police make nine arrests as part of investigations into rural crime

Nine people have been arrested as part of a crackdown on rural crime in Kent.

Specialist officers, who make up the Rural Task Force, also seized a number of vehicles, issued tickets for driving offences and targeted those suspected of fly-tipping.

Jos Brynmor-Jones' farm became a fly-tipping hotspot
Jos Brynmor-Jones' farm became a fly-tipping hotspot

The action comes after a report by NFU Mutual showed rural crime cost farmers in the county £1.3million last year. While that was a 25% reduction on 2019 due to restrictions on travel because of Covid, it still made Kent one of the worst affected places in the UK.

Kent's police and crime commissioner has vowed to tackle the problem after some living in the countryside said they felt isolated and forced to take action themselves.

Those detained in July include a man from Seasalter who was stopped by the team as they patrolled Faversham Road, Whitstable.

The 21-year-old was wanted in connection with the theft of chainsaws from a local business. He was arrested and has been released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

A 30-year-old man from Yorkshire was arrested at a petrol station in Norton on July 10 after a search of his vehicle located 27 bottles of champagne that are believed to have been stolen.

Jos Brynmor-Jones has a farm near Meopham

The man was also arrested on suspicion of driving without a licence or insurance.

A 25-year-old from London was stopped by the team in Old Tovil Road, Maidstone ten days later. The officers suspected the recovery vehicle he was using had been stolen and displayed false numberplates.

In addition to this, he did not hold a valid driving licence. He has been released from custody whilst enquiries continue.

In total, the officers seized 26 vehicles and issued 12 tickets for driving offences, they also worked with local authorities across the county on four separate action days aimed at targeting those fly-tipping.

Farmers took action against fly-tippers by blocking in their van. Picture: Trevor Jones
Farmers took action against fly-tippers by blocking in their van. Picture: Trevor Jones

As farmers begin their harvest the rural team will be on the trail of those involved in hare coursing. This is an illegal activity which not only involves the unnecessary suffering of wildlife but often results in landowners being threatened and damage being caused to crops.

In a bid to combat a rise in attacks on livestock by dogs the team have updated their response to such incidents. The officers have developed a strategy to ensure that any potential forensic evidence is captured and will take ownership of all livestock attacks reported to them.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw of the Rural Task Force said: "The team work hard to combat a variety of issues experienced by the rural community including the anti-social use off-road vehicles, rogue traders and the theft of expensive agricultural equipment.

"We have developed a number of apps for people in the rural community so they can share information with us quickly and our Farm Watch group now exceeds 1,500 members. We do not underestimate that people in these areas can feel isolated and it is important we utilise technology to ensure we can communicate effectively.

"There have been a number of notable successes in July and we remain committed to offering a first-class service to those in rural communities."

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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