A SCHEME aimed at reducing rural crime will be launched on Wednesday by Cumbria Police.

Cumbria Horsewatch will give its members access to incident and crime alerts, as well as specific crime prevention advice.

The scheme has been set up by the Horsewatch Co-ordinator Nigel Sutcliffe, from the Kendal Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Mr Sutcliffe has a keen interest in horses and has drawn on his own experiences and the experiences of similar schemes from all over the country.

Mr Sutcliffe said: “Policing rural areas is very challenging and we require our local communities help.

"The aim of Horsewatch is to offer advice and guidance to all those involved in equestrian pursuits as well as presenting a united front against such criminal activity”.

Sergeant John Stephens, of the Kendal Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Rural crime, including crime against the equine community, is on the increase.

"The fact that rural communities are isolated and the price commanded by animals and associated equipment is very high makes such criminal activity very lucrative.

"Criminals will often travel the length and breadth of the country to steal and then dispose of their ill-gotten gains.”

The scheme will be administered through Cumbria Community Messaging and members can register free online at the Cumbria Police website.

The launch will take place at 10am on Wednesday at Bigland Hall Riding Centre, Backbarrow.