A new police rural crime team has been set up to help protect rural communities across Derbyshire.
The move follows a spate of crimes including thefts of agricultural machinery and vehicles such as quad bikes and more than 30 sheep near Bakewell last month.
Based in Matlock, the new team will be made up of police officers, members of the Special Constabulary and police volunteers and will also lean on the expertise of the force’s 27 wildlife crime specialist officers.
It will deliver crime prevention tips to people, plan and execute operations to target criminals and take the lead on the investigation of rural crimes, giving victims a single point of contact to deal with.
Inspector Dave Nash, who is leading the team, said: “There is such a wide variety of offences that directly impact rural and farming communities.
“Whether it’s the theft of a quad bike, sheep rustling, damage or theft to farm machinery or breaking into outbuildings.
“And it’s not just crimes against people that we will be focusing on - we will also be helping to protect our wildlife, alongside our specialist wildlife crime officers. This includes poaching, illegal off-roading, bird persecution, destruction of nests, and badger baiting.”
The team will be working with a range of partners including farming unions, and will also be regular visitors to the agricultural centre in Bakewell.