Farmers and rural communities are being invited to book a slot at the next marking event which will be held on September 18 in Lucker
More than £200,000 worth of agricultural machinery, tools and equipment has been marked with a forensic code as part of Northumbria’s ongoing fight against rural crime.
The Northumberland Partnership Against Rural Crime (NPARC) was launched in December 2022 and recently teamed up with both NFU Mutual and SelectaDNA.
At a launch event in Hexham in June, dozens of people had their all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), trailers and other agricultural equipment marked with an invisible DNA code.
The code helps police easily spot stolen property that thieves may be attempting to sell on and quickly identify rightful owners. So far more than £200,000 worth of rural equipment has been successfully marked with the unique, invisible code.
Officers are now urging more farmers and rural communities to come forward and attend a further tagging event later this month.
It will be held in Lucker, near Belford, on Monday, September 18 between 9.30am and 3pm.
Coinciding with the start of National Rural Crime Week, the event will see representatives from NPARC – the new multi-agency project led by the Force’s Rural Policing Team – be on hand to offer crime prevention advice and respond to any concerns about rural crime.
Sergeant Calum Meikle, of Northumbria Police, said: “We have been delighted with the early response to these events and it’s great that a large amount of rural equipment has already been forensically marked..
“This technology is a significant step in our ongoing battle against rural crime – and I’d encourage anyone from our rural communities who has yet to do so to come along.
“The free events provide a great opportunity for farmers and owners to bring ATVs, quad bikes, trailers and any other valuable equipment that could be the target of thieves.
“We can then mark their equipment with a specialist unique invisible code which will help us identify any stolen property, take robust action against thieves and return those goods to their rightful owners.
“This is just one of many ways we are proactively looking to detect, disrupt and prevent rural crime in Northumbria, and through NPARC, we are really excited about what we can do to continue this positive momentum.
“We want to make sure Northumbria stays at the forefront of tackling rural crime – and that’s exactly what we want to achieve through NPARC and the various operations that we run across Northumberland, including Operation Checkpoint.
“This work would not be possible without the invaluable contributions of our Rural Crime Volunteers and partners – who are our eyes and ears out in the community. I would like to thank them for their amazing ongoing support and dedication.”
NPARC is a partnership involving various organisations including Northumbria Police’s Rural Policing Team, the National Farmers Union, NFU Mutual, Northumberland County Council, Northumberland National Park, Mountain Rescue, Forestry England and Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service.
The joint initiative was set up after Northumbria became the first Force in the country to be awarded Safer Streets funding specifically to fight rural crime, which was secured by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said: “There’s been a great response to this initiative to get agricultural equipment marked up.
"Local people in our rural communities are always fantastic at doing their bit to support Northumbria Police in the fight against rural crime. From our committed volunteers to the professional NPARC partnership I’ve funded, there is a really joined up effort in wanting to catch criminals, stop them in their tracks and make it really difficult for them to operate in our region.
"The more difficult we make it for them, the more we will see crime fall. I hope this and all the other robust operations and prevention initiatives make clear just how important our rural communities are to Northumbria Police and I.”
Hannah Binns, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “As the UK’s main insurer of farmers, we know that theft of agricultural vehicles and equipment is incredibly disruptive and causes additional pressures for farmers and their families.
“Combined with good farmyard security and effective policing, property marking is one of the best tools in the toolbox and we’re pleased to support this marking initiative to make it harder for criminals to operate in the countryside.”
To book a space at the DNA marking event in Lucker on September 18, please email firstname.lastname@example.org