A high profile policing operation has marked the launch of a new
crime-fighting initiative to protect Norfolk’s farming
Multi-agency roadside checks on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire
border sought to identify travelling criminals using the main
arterial routes into the county.
The action day on Thursday December 16 form part of a new
alliance between Norfolk Constabulary and senior agricultural
representatives committed to tackling crime affecting rural
Codenamed Operation Randall, farmers and landowners will be
encouraged to work collectively with the police to help identify,
disrupt and deter criminals targeting the Norfolk countryside.
Det Supt Nick Dean said: “Operation Randall is seeking to target
rural crime, in particular those offences that impact on farmers
and people who reside or work in isolated locations and whose
premises have been vulnerable to attack.
“Whilst it must be stressed that crime levels remain relatively
low in Norfolk, rural areas are more prone to offences such as fuel
and scrap metal theft along with rural-specific crimes such as
theft of agricultural machinery and hare coursing.
“Improvements in information and intelligence received from the
community can help us be more effective in enforcement and
prevention and we’re grateful for the support given by our partners
in the farming community.”
The launch of Operation Randall follows consultation by senior
police officers with farming stakeholders across the county
including Farm Watch, the National Farmers’ Union, the Norfolk Hunt
and Ben Burgess.
It was agreed that improved two-way communication between police
and farming communities would help provide a police service that
could be more responsive to collective and local needs.
Farmers will be encouraged to report incidents to police to help
build intelligence on people or vehicles linked to rural crime and
can sign up to receive crime updates by e-mail, voicemail or text
via Norfolk Constabulary’s free Police Direct system.
Work will be undertaken to bolster security at the most
Tony Bone, director of independent rural security organisation
Farm Watch, said: “At this moment in time, the most prevalent
crimes we are seeing are thefts of diesel, trailers and teleporters
from farm premises and damage caused to property by unlicensed
“We are very happy to be involved in this scheme and to be
working together with the police to crack down on rural crime.”
During today’s roadside checks at locations on the A47 near
Wisbech, police teams were joined by officers from the Environment
Agency, Trading Standards and VOSA, to carry out checks on vehicles
and people of interest.
The team were looking for offences linked to rural crime
including those carrying scrap metal or farm machinery, waste
carriers operating illegally and tax-dodging motorists running
their vehicles on red diesel.
More than 50 vehicles were pulled over with a majority of
law-abiding motorists. One person was issued with a fine for
driving with no insurance, and Prohibition notices requiring
immediate repairs on vehicles were issued by VOSA. Leaflets
explaining the nature of the work were distributed to motorists by
representatives from Smartwater and the Environment Agency.
Sgt Sam Pontin from Terrington Safer Neighbourhood Team, who led
today’s operation, said: “It was pleasing to see that majority of
motorists we stopped were law abiding and were supportive of the
operation. We will be conducting similar operations in other
locations to continue our efforts to stop criminals coming in and
out of the county.”
The operation was supported by Norfolk Constabulary’s Automatic
Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology which can check the
details of passing vehicles instantaneously against a national
database of vehicles of interest.