Police have issued a warning following a series of thefts from outbuildings.
They are warning owners of sheds, barns, garages or outbuildings containing valuable equipment such as quad bikes, power tools, gardening equipment or farm machinery to be extra careful.
“We are also asking for the public to remain vigilant within our rural communities and not to confront suspects who engage in this particular type of criminality, call the police on 999 immediately if a crime is in progress,” said a spokesperson.
Police Sergeant Stuart Ross from Hampshire’s specialist Country Watch Team said: “We have seen a series of burglaries of outbuildings occurring overnight and in the early hours of the morning in rural districts. The suspects are targeting farm machinery, quad bikes and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and anything of value such as power tools.
“This is not something that is unique to Hampshire, it is also happening across county borders and right across the UK.
“We believe many of these thefts are connected to organised crime groups who are exporting stolen quad bikes abroad. This shows a level of planning by the criminals, so being aware and reporting suspicious vehicles and people is really important.
“Rural crime is a priority for us and we will continue to relentlessly pursue suspects. The community are our eyes and ears and we encourage you to report all incidents as soon as you are able to by calling 101 if it’s not an emergency. If it’s happening there and then, always call 999.
“You can also report suspicious activity online (if it’s not an emergency) by visiting our website www.hampshire.police.uk or clicking on this link: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/ro/report/
“I would like to assure residents and landowners that we take this type of crime extremely seriously. We are conducting patrols in rural areas but we would urge anyone to ensure as far as possible to secure and alarm their buildings and property mark their equipment. Consider installing CCTV, tracker devices, automatic security lights and intruder alarm systems.”
If you have any information about rural crime, call 101 and quote Operation Rebate. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you are offered goods in suspicious circumstances, always report it by calling 101.
Please take note of the below crime prevention advice in relation to quad bikes:
• Keep good records of your quad bikes or ATVs. Take colour photographs from the side,
front and behind.
• Photos should include serial/chassis numbers, model numbers and distinguishing features
• All quads should be security marked with your postcode, followed by letters of your
property name or number
• Register your quad at www.immobilise.com
• Park as close to your premises as possible, ideally in a locked outbuilding with CCTV and
security lighting, preferably out of sight from nearby roads.
• Secure with wheel clamps and/or locking posts, and store in a secure building. Consider
using ground anchor plates and chains for extra security
• Consider investing in a bespoke quad security device (look for those approved by Secured
by Design and Sold Secure)
• Fit a GPS tracking device
• Remove keys when not in use and do not leave them near the quad
Help deter theft and aid recovery of agriculture equipment with CESAR
The CESAR scheme was designed by police officers working in partnership with the construction and agricultural industries to provide police with a quick and effective way to identify all manners of machinery and equipment. CESAR can be fitted to all types of self-propelled and trailer mounted construction and agricultural equipment.
The registration database is accessible 24/7 to provide support to officers who are making enquiries at the roadside about equipment stopped in suspicious circumstances with persons they suspect may have stolen it.
CESAR uses Datatag ID technology, with both visible and covert markings, making it a real deterrent and an invaluable aid to recovery. Many insurance companies offer discounts of up to 20 percent on premiums and reduced excesses for cover on CESAR-marked machines. For more information visit: www.cesarscheme.org.