Thieves ‘stung’ with decoy in fight on rural crime

Police are stepping up the fight against thieves who target remote farm buildings and equipment in the UK through the use of decoy equipment.

Local officers covering an area of mainly open countryside in the Staffordshire Moorlands, England, are using the unorthodox tactics to catch would-be criminals in hotspot areas.

Officers successfully deployed the ‘sting’ tactic when they placed equipment on a decoy quad bike and trailer in an operation in the area.

This operation resulted in three men being convicted and jailed for theft.


The crime fighting tool has also been used on other farming equipment that is often targeted by thieves, such as large batteries, cycles, cars and power tools.

The aim is to make it harder for thieves to operate in rural areas.

Chief inspector Mark Thorley, the neighbourhood commander for the area, said: “In decoy operations, vehicles and equipment most often targeted for theft are parked in certain areas and fitted with devices that may allow us to film or track the thieves.”

Police are also advising farmers and people living in rural areas to secure their equipment after three men were jailed recently for using a tractor as a battering ram to force their way into a barn and steal equipment in the area.

Chief inspector Thorley said: “I understand how busy and dynamic farming can be, but would ask farmers to keep their vehicles and equipment secure and avoid leaving machinery in isolated areas or roads where potential thieves may use it to commit further crime.”