'We're coming for you' - warning shot issued to criminals targeting Lincolnshire with the launch of a new rural crime action team

The ongoing rise in cases of hare coursing, lead thefts, fly-tipping and farm thefts has Lead Lincolnshire Police to launch a new rural crime action team.

PC Martin Green talking to Leadenham farmer Andrew Ward.
PC Martin Green talking to Leadenham farmer Andrew Ward.

The team of eight police constables and one sergeant will be employed by Lincolnshire Police in the coming months as part of the recent recruitment uplift where the government has funded extra police officers.

They will target rural crime such as hare coursing and wildlife crime, arson, flytipping, lead theft, theft from farms and rural properties as well as offering crime prevention advice.

Sign up to our daily LincolnshireWorld Today newsletter

The key objectives for the team were set after consultation with key partners in the community

Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, rural crime lead, said: “Lincolnshire is a large rural county and as part of our commitment to support rural communities we are recruiting experienced officers into the Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT).

“This commitment means that we can focus on prevention, investigation and enforcement of offences that have a unique impact on rural communities, that we can develop our national lead on tackling hare coursing and work together to protect our heritage, wildlife and environment.

“The team is made up of officers passionate about protecting Lincolnshire communities, targeting the criminals who come here to offend and making Lincolnshire the safest place to live, work and visit.”

In the lead up to the deployment of the new team, PC Martin Green, one of the forces rural crime officers, based at Sleaford, said: “Our main focus is to deter criminals and support our rural crime communities.

“Our aim is to stop criminals in their tracks by patrolling areas and attending incidents as soon as they are reported. We continue to ask anyone affected by crime to call us on 101, or call 999 to report a crime in action.”

Commenting in a new video to promote the team, he said criminals targeting Lincolnshire's rural areas was "not on" and with the threat that the force is prepared to seize cars, dogs, money and make arrests he added: "We're coming for you!"

Chief Constable Chris Haward added: “It is so important to have a dedicated team for this area of policing, which quite often can go unnoticed. We want to reassure the residents of Lincolnshire that we are here to disrupt rural crime, to catch those who think they can get away with it and to ensure our more isolated communities feel safe in their own homes.

“We have had cases of lead theft, along with other countryside offences. We understand how destructive these are to people’s livelihoods, and how damaging they can be emotionally to the victim. We want perpetrators of these crimes to know we are here to catch them: do not consider committing the crime because we will bring you to justice.

“Working closely with partners including the National Farmers’ Union, we can draw on expertise and resources from all over the county; together, we can provide the service needed to prevent rural crime.”

NFU Lincolnshire county advisers Rhonda Thompson and Johanna Musson said: “This is a massive step towards Lincolnshire cracking down on rural crime.

“The threat of crime is huge in the countryside. Farmers and growers bear the brunt of it and many often face a daily battle against a determined group of offenders.

“Having an RCAT sends a stark message to criminals and organised crime gangs aiming to target our rural areas - there is now a police unit entirely dedicated to preventing them causing crime and catching them if they commit it.

“We’re proud to have worked alongside the Country Landowners Association, the police and the police and crime commissioner in the establishment of this new team.

“Now the hard work begins on making Lincolnshire a no-go zone for criminals.”

If you have been a victim of crime, please call us on 101, or dial 999 to report a crime in action.