MP demands action to reduce rural crime

No Caption ABCDE EMN-160829-133526001
No Caption ABCDE EMN-160829-133526001

Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins has revealed her concerns about an increase in rural crime and warned she wants to see an improvement - ‘as a matter of urgency.’

A recent report by the NFU showed Lincolnshire was the rural crime capital of the country and had cost the county £2.2million in 2015.

That figure was a 19 per cent increase in the previous 12 months.

Now, Ms Atkins - who was recently appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Home Office, has cranked up the pressure.

She said that following the rise in rural crime - and the ‘devastating effects’ on victims - she had held discussion with local farmers and police to focus attention on the problem.

Ms Atkins said: “This is a big issue in Lincolnshire and I want to find out about the specific nature of the problem and what needs to be done to address it in this area.

“I - and my constituents - want to see improvement as a matter of urgency”

Ms Atkins went on to say she was concerned by reports from the insurance industry and police that highlighted thefts of farm equipment “to order” - and how gangs are operating to ship stolen products abroad to Eastern Europe.

She added: “We need better security on farms – something the NFU is encouraging – and better intelligence as to the criminals involved.

“I want to keep the pressure up on everybody to achieve greater success in future months.”

Her comments come just a couple of weeks before the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones is due to meet town councillors in Horncastle.

Councillors are concerned about the police resources in the town, particularly after the loss of two of four PCSO’s who form a key part of the town’s Neighbourhood Policing Team,

Councillors are also worried about a number of recent incidents in Horncastle - including the attempted theft from a cash point machine and the theft of a defibrillator from the Market Place area (see page 1).

While councillors are not making any comment before the meeting with Mr Jones, sources suggest they are drawing up a list of questions for the commissioner.

Apart from resources, councillors are known to be worried about the state of the town’s CCTV system after the recent transfer of monitoring operations from Skegness to Boston.

Mr Jones recently told the News that funding was in place to rule out any immediate cuts to police numbers.

Together with Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, Mr Jones is leading the battle to secure more Government money..

He said: “The complex system doesn’t work for us, we are just too big a county, and that is why I have written to the Home Secretary asking for more money for Lincolnshire as part of the current review into police funding.”

Mr Jones has consistently said police are doing a ‘great job’ with the resources at their disposal.