Day of action aimed at tackling rural crime and burglary in Wealden

04/08/2020

Police in Wealden joined forces with partner agencies in a day of action aimed at tackling rural crime and burglary in the district.

The multi-agency event on Monday (August 3) saw officers stop dozens of vehicles on the A22 near Nutley to conduct licence and insurance checks, in an effort to identify criminals using the road network.

This was the latest in a series of steps taken by police in Wealden to address a rise in reported burglaries at the start of the year.

Other measures include a high-visible presence in rural areas, with officers carrying out more than 400 hours of dedicated patrol activity so far this year, leading to 11 arrests.

Officers are also ensuring all local victims of burglary receive a follow-up visit by police, to offer support and provide prevention advice.

The activity is already showing positive results, with North Wealden seeing a marked drop in the number of burglaries reported to police. There were 98 recorded break-ins in the area from January to June 2020, compared to 188 for the previous six-month period (-47.9%) and 185 for the same six-month period in 2019 (-47%).

Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Dando, who joined the day of action in Wealden, said: "We have really listened and taken on board the community's concerns around burglary and rural crime.

"Our response has been focused on keeping a visible police presence in rural areas through dedicated patrols and days of action like this, to act as a deterrent to those intending to commit crime and to reassure the public that we are taking the issue very seriously and we are here if they need us.

"We have already seen some success in terms of arrests and a drop in recorded burglaries, and we will continue working closely with partners, local authorities and our communities to keep this going."

The high-profile day of action also involved representatives from partner agencies including the National Farmers' Union and Blackham Watch - a community group set up in response to the rise in burglaries at the start of 2020.

Crowborough Town Council and Withyham Parish Council clerks held their regular meeting with police at the event, with representatives from Wealden District Council also joining and using the opportunity to make checks around fly-tipping and hazardous waste.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne was also present. She said: "Through my ongoing consultations with local residents and organisations, including the National Farmers’ Union, I know that our rural and village communities in Sussex can sometimes feel isolated and overlooked.

“Our new Chief Constable Jo Shiner has responded to those fears and concerns with more resources and dedicated officers.

“From extra investment last year, Sussex Police have recently launched and expanded their specialist rural crime team and these extra boots on the ground have made a huge difference to the confidence of local communities already.

“It was great to see the team in action today being a visible deterrent to criminals and delivering on the promise to residents of more proactive and preventative policing.”

Police in Wealden also work closely with Kent Police and Surrey Police, sharing intelligence to identify any cross-border criminality.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue reporting crime and suspicious behaviour to police, so officers can build a picture of crime in the area and respond effectively.

People are also urged to take photographs and note down details and serial numbers of their high-value items.

For more information on how to keep your outbuildings secure and to seek free crime prevention surveys, visit https://www.sussex.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/non-residential-burglary/secure-shed-garage/.