Livestock rustlers are closer to home than you think, warns police boss

A police boss has spoken out to dispel the myth that all livestock rustlers raiding North Wales come from outside the region.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones believes that in reality, in many cases the culprits can be found closer to home – within the rural community itself.

Speaking during a visit to the mart in Dolgellau to celebrate the launch of a new rural crime partnership, Jones said it was clear rustlers know what they’re doing when it comes to handling sheep and cattle.

Vigilance

The commissioner, who was brought up on a farm near Harlech, is urging rural dwellers to report any suspicious behaviour they see in the countryside.

It was a view supported by the North Wales commissioner, Arfon Jones, who said: “The people who steal livestock are not from Birmingham or Manchester, they are often from within the rural community itself.

“They know how to herd sheep together in the middle of the night and where to sell them.

These people are not very far away from home, they are in the community or people connected in some way to agriculture.

“I think very often people in rural communities have a pretty good idea who the thieves are and where they go.
“They need to have the confidence to give this information to the police. They to pass on their suspicions to the rural crime officers so they can follow up on that information.

“We have a big border between the two forces and that border is the countryside and this partnership will help us to be more effective in the fight against rural crime.”

Police crime commissioner North Wales Arfon Jones at the Farmers Market along with industry representatives

At the launch, it was revealed that drones are now being used as a high-tech weapon to combat rural crime.

PC Dewi Evans, who has been a member of the North Wales team from the outset, said: “We’ve had some big successes, but there are still crimes happening of course and we’re all working hard with each other and with farmers.

In a way, the team is bigger than just the officers because it includes the people that live in the countryside and farmers and we’re all working with each other to get a grip on the problems that there are in the countryside.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said he was grateful his new team would be able to tap into the experience and expertise of the North Wales operation.

He said: “We have seen the success of the North Wales team and the value of putting in specific resources to target crimes that happen in rural areas.

“Through this partnership, we want to build on that success and as a result three-quarters of the land mass of Wales now has dedicated team responding to rural crime.”