Rural policing officers are offering crime prevention advice following a series of crimes targeting farms across Powys.

The Rural Crime Team has seen an increase in rural burglaries and thefts over January and February, with agricultural trailers, quad bikes, ATVs, power tools, chainsaws, plant machinery and scrap metal being taken.

Officers believe most of these crimes would have been committed by opportunist thieves, taking items which were visible or where there were no security measures in place.

However, there have been incidents where criminals have been known to scope out farms in advance, to source items of value.

BCU Commander for Powys, Superintendent Steve Davies said: “Police operations and targeted patrols continue across Powys, however given our county’s huge area, it is difficult to be everywhere.

“We are reliant on our rural communities to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately.

“We are aware that very often information is shared locally on social media and online chat groups, which has proven to be a great asset in spreading the word. However, we also ask that if you see or hear anything suspicious taking place in your community, please also report it to the police at the time, as we cannot monitor all social media channels for information.”

Farming communities are also encouraged to review their own security, to install CCTV systems and security lighting on farm yards, along with other measures to make it difficult for criminals to operate, or at the very least to be a delay or deterrent to them.

Supt Davies said: “All too often, we arrive on farms to find gates open, keys left in quads, tools left lying around in open buildings, and trailers left parked in easily accessible locations.

“However, while we deal with a number of thieves who act opportunistically, some who are more determined will carry out reconnaissance visits of farms in order to locate high value items to steal at a later date.

“We ask farmers to be mindful of the location and storage of such items as they are very much sought after by the criminal fraternity.”

Farmers are urged to record the make and serial numbers of items, create an up to date inventory list of their property, and take photographs of each item. Easily removed items should be marked or stamped with the postcode, farm’s name or other identifying mark.

Tools and small items of machinery should be locked in a secure building, and tractors, farm implements and valuable machinery should not be parked near or alongside public roads when not in use.

Farm gates should be locked with good quality chains or padlocks, and hinges should preferably be of the capped or inverted type to prevent easy removal. The installation of tracking devices on quad bikes, ATVs and other farm vehicles is highly encouraged, and has proven many times to be the most efficient way of recovering stolen property.

“Remember, we can’t act on something if we don’t know about it,” added Supt Davies. “No matter how insignificant it may seem, please report all suspicious activity to police immediately, and don’t assume someone else would have notified us.”

In an emergency, always call 999.

To report a non-urgent incident, you can contact police in one of the following ways: