Rural crime is an important issue for Sussex Police due to the large geographic areas across the county that are defined as 'rural', but rural crime is known to be under-reported.
Rural crime can be perpetrated by opportunists or organised groups of criminals who travel the countryside specifically targeting rural locations.
The 2018 NFU Mutual Crime Report indicates cost of rural crime to the UK as £44.5m in 2017 (this figure only takes into account agricultural crimes). The 2018 National Rural Crime Survey identified that rural crime is under reported so it is believed that the actual cost of rural crime to the economy is much higher. Rural crime can have the effect of increased insurance premiums, higher food prices and damage the infrastructure of rural communities.
What is Rural Crime?
Following consultation and review across other force areas and the National Wildlife Crime Unit a small working group has been created to progress this. They have provisionally agreed a shared working definition of rural crime in Sussex, as any crime of an agricultural, environmental, wildlife or heritage nature.
- Agricultural - working farms, farm machinery, farm buildings, small holdings, offences against livestock, equine crime and crimes at isolated rural buildings.
- Environmental Crime - this includes illegal waste dumping, fly tipping, polluting water courses and pollution of the land. Sussex Police also assist the Environment Agency in the investigation of these crimes. Our Wildlife Crime page holds further information.
- Wildlife - illegal hare coursing, poaching, interference with protected species. For more details on wildlife crime.
- Heritage - lead theft from churches, ancient monuments, illegal metal detecting and arts and antiquities offences. Any offence which harms the value of England's heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations'.
Our Rural Crime Prevention page contains useful advice.
Sussex Police are working with partners and agencies to successfully tackle rural crime in Sussex:
Since the launch in 2015, Equine Rangers have reported anti-social driving to Op Crackdown and incidents of flytipping to the Council. The Rangers themselves have had an excellent reception with local people stopping in the street to ask about what they are doing and the Equine Rangers being able to engage and offer crime prevention advice and rural community reassurance. They are a great link between the police and local communities. The Rangers are really enjoying being Community Volunteers, and value has been restored in horses and riders.
In 2018 Sussex Police signed up to Operation Traverse to undertake joint patrols with members of the Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Scheme and the Environment Agency. Supporting this scheme Sussex Police is able to target anti social behaviour, hgih value fish thefts, drug misuse and other criminal activity.
The plan is to bring all the rural watches under the banner of Countrywatch. We will tell you more about that in the coming months, make sure you are signed up to In The Know to get the details.
If you see something suspicious please report it online or by calling 101.
You can also report anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online.
Or you can anonymously report industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, livestock theft and machinery theft on Crimestoppers' rural crime hotline 0800 783 0137 or online.