A SCHEME aimed at reducing rural crime has been launched by Cumbria Police.

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

The scheme, launched at the Bigland Hall Riding Centre, Backbarrow, has been set up by Horsewatch co-ordinator Nigel Sutcliffe, from Kendal Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Mr Sutcliffe said: “Policing rural areas is challenging and we require our local communities’ help. The aim is to offer advice and guidance as well as presenting a united front against 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 then dispose of ill-gotten gains.”

The scheme will be administered through Cumbria Community Messaging and registration is free online at the Cumbria Police website.