Prosecution of rural crime has been called into question by the NFU following concern current sentences were not ‘suitable deterrents’.
Meg Hesketh reports.
In an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Crime last week, the NFU made a case to Solicitor General Robert Buckland MP to review such sentences and ensure they reflected the ‘true costs of rural crimes’ to farmers.
It also suggested the Sentencing Council must look into the nature and impact of the crime on rural communities.
Speaking at the event, NFU chief land management advisor Sam Durham said: “Rural crime has devastating impacts for farmers and food producing businesses, and it is only right that the punishments handed down to these criminals are severe enough to act as a deterrent.”
Growth in rural crime was also addressed by NFU deputy president Guy Smith, who said the issue was ‘one of the most frequent conversations’ he had with members.
He added: “It may well be that these criminals have more in common with serious organised crime than petty theft.
“It is clear that there must be a co-ordinated approach between police and government to properly tackle this blight on the countryside”.
It came alongside a push for continued support for police measures to seize dogs from hare coursers and reclaim kennelling costs, first initiated by the NFU with Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP.
It follows their collaborative efforts with Crimestoppers on its new ‘Rural Crime Reporting Line’, to encourage farmers to anonymously report incidents in their local area.