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Radio link for farms in crime crackdown.

Byline: KIRSTI ADAIR

FARMERS in Wirr al could soon be issued with radio links as police work to crack down on rural crime.

Officers hope to set up a farm watch scheme in west Wirr al to prevent theft and vandalism of farm property.

It is hoped the radios, expected to be operating within three months, will help make farmers feel more secure.

Heswall Neighbourhood Inspector Lenny Gill said: ``Generally, farmers are in an extremely isolated position and they do have to deal with things alone.

``For a community like this, it is very important they have a means of contact to each other and police. The radio link would provide this.

``Farm crime is sporadic but it does happen and needs to be addressed.

``Last year, we had a spate of trailer thefts and thieves stealing horse tack from a number of farms.

``Some of these could have been prevented if farmers had had access to radio links to warn others of the attacks. ''

Farmwatch would run on the back of the success of radio link schemes already used by businesses across Wirr al.

The latest link has just been set up in Heswall to help shops and pubs combat crime.

In its first week of operation, three people were arrested for robb ery offences after shopkeepers were able to radio the CSOs and police officers for assistance.

Crime such as burglary, robb ery and assaults have also been down since its introduction last month.

Over the next few weeks, police will be approaching farms to find out how much they can contribute towards the pounds 2, 500 cost of a radio base station for a similar project.

Community Support Officer Phil Robert s, who is working to set up the scheme, said:``We have been concentrating our efforts so far on the business community but farming itself is big business .

``We have had incidents where animals have been stolen or there has been anti- social behaviour with kids damaging property. If farmers were able to radio ahead to each other, it could help reduce these. ''

Steve Ledsham, 55, a farmer in Thurstaston, said a radio link would mean farmers feeling less isolated.

He said: ``I think this has to be a bon us. I have had problems recently with attacks on my property. I had 500 pumpkins destroyed by vandals.

``A radio link would also be important in the case of escaped animals or fire which is a real danger in farm buildings. ''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 3, 2004
Words:415
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