Criminals planning to take advantage of the current lockdown to commit offences in rural areas are finding that their activities are more likely to come to the attention of countryside communities.
Three men were arrested near High Hurstwood in the Wealden district recently when police were alerted to a suspicious car in the area. The men were found crawling along a hedgerow and after running off from officers were arrested on suspicion of burglary and going equipped for burglary.
Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, Wealden district policing commander and Sussex Police's lead on business burglary, said: "This incident demonstrates that by working together, increasing vigilance and awareness, we can make a difference and we do act positively on any intelligence we receive. If you see anyone or anything suspicious in your area, please report it to us.
"Rural PCSOs are continuing their proactive work, liaising with farmers and countryside businesses, offering rural crime prevention advice and offering property marking, including delivering property marking tools along with instructions on how to use them.
"We have also increased our high-visibility patrols around rural beauty spots and areas popular with people taking their lockdown exercise as these can also be attractive to opportunistic thieves.
"Additionally, we are liaising with partners including the National Farmers' Union and the Country Land and Business Association in association with the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, to consult with farmers to ensure that they are being supported by police and to give them the opportunity to inform us of what is going on locally to them."
Recruitment continues and more rural officers will be taking up their roles over the next few months as part of the overall precept investment plan.
Sergeant Tom Carter, operational lead for rural and wildlife crime, has appealed to people visiting the countryside to respect the rural environment.
"As the weather improves, we are seeing an increase in the number of people out and about in rural areas and, probably as a result of current restrictions, many of these may not be so used to visiting the countryside.
"This has prompted an increase in the number of reports from farmers and landowners about people disregarding the Countryside Code, not observing footpaths, walking across crops, leaving gates open and in some cases, being abusive when challenged.
"Sheep worrying by dogs is an on-going problem and with thousands of new lambs in particular across the county, I would urge dog walkers to keep their animals on a lead and under control at all times while around livestock. Your normally docile pet can turn into a bloodthirsty killer in a moment and a farmer can legally shoot a dog that is chasing livestock.
"We are also aware that there are some anglers out there who are fishing, sometimes illegally, during the lockdown period. The Angling Trust is lobbying to have fishing included among the activities that may be permitted when Covid-19 restrictions start to be lifted, but for the time being it is not a reasonable excuse to be at the water's edge."
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who has been leading on a series of virtual consultations with the local farming community said: “Rural crime continues to be a priority for me and I want to ensure that our more remote communities have a voice in policing through the Covid crisis and beyond.
“Now that the countryside is relatively empty due to ‘lockdown’, making it more susceptible to criminality, local farmers have reported an increase in fly tipping, hare coursing and equipment theft.
“I’m pleased to see Sussex Police are encouraging vital intelligence sharing within this community and are still working hard to crackdown on these types of crimes.
“Plans for an expanded rural crime unit are well underway thanks to extra investment into the Force this year and I know that this will make a huge difference to our farming communities.”
To find out how you can protect yourself and your property, visit our crime prevention advice pages.
You can report any offences or suspicions online or call 101, but if it is an emergency or a crime is occurring there and then, dial 999 immediately.
£500 donated to NHS Angels Project
PCSO Marcos proudly presented a cheque for £500 to the NHS Angels Project in Hailsham this weekend, with funds donated from the Police Property Act Fund.
Mary Laxton is the coordinator for the group and said:
NHSangels project was delighted to receive £500 from the PPAF fund. We shall spend the money on fabric and elastic buttons and bows from our local shop Pumpkin Patch in Hailsham.
We have to date provided 3.400 scrub bags and headbands to frontline NHS staff and carers in our community, sincerest thanks to PCSO Marcos for organising and being our sponsor!
Did you know we are offering grants to local groups assisting others during Covid19?
The Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) is made up of monies received by the police from the sale of found property and from property confiscated by order of court and then sold.
The main aim of the fund is to support local projects undertaken by voluntary/charitable organisations that solely benefit the communities of Sussex - to find out more search 'PPAF' on the Sussex Police website today.
VE Day Celebrations
VE Day on 8 May is ordinarily a day of celebrations marking the end of fighting in Europe in World War Two.
After years of hardship people celebrated with family get-togethers and street parties.
This year it’s very different and while we want you to celebrate such a momentous day, we can’t do the things we want to do. It’s our turn to save lives.
If you are planning a garden party keep it to your household and garden only. Talk to your neighbours but stay at least 2m away from them and do not gather on your street.
We don’t want to break up a responsible socially-distanced party but mass-gatherings or large groups are highly likely to be reported to us and if people are not following government guidance we will have no choice but to intervene.
You can also join in with virtual VE Day celebrations, how about:
🚩 Downloading a bunting template? Colour, stick, cut and sew your own for with the kids (http://orlo.uk/PomhT)
⏸️ Pause at 11am for a 2-minute silence to remember those who lost their lives (http://orlo.uk/PtoHu)
📽️ Watch at 11.15am the Royal British Legion's live stream (http://orlo.uk/Hh4Cz)
🍻 Raise a cup, glass or beaker to the heroes of WW2 in the ‘Nation’s Toast’ at 3pm (http://orlo.uk/TtxAp)
🗣️ Sing along at 9pm with BBC One's rendition of Vera Lynn's 'We'll meet again' (http://orlo.uk/LWfF9)
We’ve come so far and achieved so much. Please respect social distancing to protect the lives of others and celebrate safely
Sussex Police maintain focus on domestic abuse
Sussex Police have introduced new initiatives to encourage the reporting of domestic abuse and support victims, an issue which remains a priority for the force at this crucial time.
A new specialist unit, the Local Resolution Team, can deal by appointment with any cases that are not immediately urgent, including a new video appointment service when conversations can’t take place face to face.
The 30-strong team of specially trained officers are dedicated to dealing with reports of domestic abuse which are not immediately urgent. They discuss the incident with the caller, carry out an initial investigation and provide safeguarding advice, to leave the victim feeling safer than before and to explore available investigative opportunities to prosecute those responsible for domestic abuse.
Detective Superintendent Steve Rayland of the force's Public Protection Command said; "Our preference is to see someone face to face in private at a police station. However, we recognise that current restrictions such as vulnerable categories, self-isolation, or travel, will not be able to attend so the force has new video conferencing technology.
"The officers obtain a safe contact number and send a one time text message to the caller's smartphone. Activating this link puts the caller in to a virtual waiting room where one of our officers will be able to see and talk to them so that an investigation can take place."
Part of the safeguarding advice includes referrals to independent support agencies such as Rise and Worth Services.
Afterwards, the caller is told to delete the text, which is disguised in the first place to hide any links with the police.
New dedicated ‘Domestic Abuse’ cars across Sussex are also responding to reports where there is not an immediate threat, in addition to emergency response officers who always respond immediately to high risk incidents.These additional mobile resources are equipped with body worn video and respond in marked cars to reports of domestic abuse, with time to listen and deal thoroughly with the allegations.
The force is also carrying out domestic abuse awareness publicity at local supermarkets, with high profile signage at entrances and take-away information, complementing an online campaign. Even though our social media pages are already reaching out those affected by domestic abuse, we recognise that not everyone has access to the Internet, and some may have their access controlled.
So police officers and PCSOs are visiting supermarkets to raise awareness of domestic abuse and let people know that despite what is going on right now the police are still here, will still respond if you need help, and will arrest and prosecute. Lockdown hasn’t changed our focus on domestic abuse, it is still a priority and if you are suffering from domestic abuse we urge you to call us or speak to an officer.
Steve Rayland said; "We are adapting to ensure we can support people at risk and find them a safe space.
"It’s really important people know that alongside these new initiatives we continue to respond to domestic abuse as normal, arresting perpetrators and protecting vulnerable people.
"No matter what is going on around us there is no excuse for domestic abuse it simple isn’t acceptable. The police priority hasn’t changed if you are victim of domestic abuse I would urge you to make contact with us so that we can help."
Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said; “We may be in lockdown but we must not feel locked out. It’s now more important than ever that people who feel threatened and vulnerable have someone they can reach out to, who will listen and help them.
“I’m pleased that, following the extra investment into Sussex Police this year, we are able to put in place these innovative measures to safeguard victims at a time when it can be incredibly difficult for them to safely reach out for help.
“We are all going the extra mile during this crisis to ensure that people do not feel they have to suffer in silence.”
If you're a victim of domestic abuse, or know someone who is, and there's an emergency that's ongoing or life is in danger, call police on 999.
If you can’t talk because the perpetrator is nearby, you can then press the numbers ‘55’ into your mobile phone which will alert the operator to your situation.
The Sussex Safe Space website also provides a valuable directory of help and support from all agencies, available near you.
Reopening of Household Waste Recycling Centres
Government guidance is expected shortly on the reopening of household waste recycling sites.
These visits will only be for residents who absolutely need to dispose of waste and there may be limits on what is accepted.
It’s best to check your County Council website for the latest info. https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/
There are 23 sites across Sussex. When they do reopen, please consider whether your journey is essential and only visit a local tip if your waste or recycling cannot be added to your kerbside collection and may present a risk of injury or harm to health.
Otherwise, please safely store your items at home for now or make other legal arrangements for it to be removed.
We have had a number of burglaries this week to outbuildings, especially in rural areas, if your premises has outbuildings including, sheds, garages, workshops etc, now is a great time to review your security, for crime prevention advice please got to our website at www.sussex.police.uk Help us keep Sussex safe
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Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org Links and attachments: Sussex Police will only ever link you to secure Websites we trust. We will only send you attachments where we believe it is absolutely necessary.
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