FARMS across the Northumbria Police force area have seen a fall in thefts during lockdown and the plan is to keep driving numbers down, says Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.

In the last 12 month period, there have been 517 fewer rural crimes recorded compared to the previous 12 months. All burglary is down 47 per cent, all vehicle crime is down 35 per cent and the theft of quads is down 70 per cent from 37 to 11.

Welcoming the figures, Ms McGuinness explained lockdown had been a contributing factor but a range of proactive investigations and prevention work from police officers has also contributed to the recent success. She said: “We are fortunate that Northumbria continues to be an area least affected by rural crime compared to other parts of the country – but that’s not to say it’s not happening – it is.

“I understand the negative impact rural crime can have on our communities too, but there is a real positive in the way that volunteers and local partners come together in the fight against this type of crime.

“We can’t be complacent though – far from it. It’s so important to me that these communities feel heard, well-connected and supported by their police force. Our rural crime volunteers are also a key connection and we’re working closely on crime prevention with local people, farmers, businesses, and organisations like the National Farmers’ Union.”

Northumbria Police’s superintendent Andy Huddleston holds the national policing portfolio for cracking down on the theft of agricultural machinery and has said reducing this type of offending is a priority.