A DATABASE launched by Lancashire Police and the National Farmers’ Union is hoped to turn the county into a no-go area for thieves.

NFU said livestock and farm machinery in on the rise, but the joint bodies hope to build a comprehensive picture of rural crime by logging even the smallest scale crimes which are said to often go unreported.

John Taylor, NFU Lancashire County Chairman, said: “Previous to the database being set up a police officer stopping a livestock wagon full of sheep would be more interested in the vehicle’s lights and brakes than the stock because it is more familiar ground.

“Now it’s different. If the officer suspects something fishy regarding the livestock being moved, via the database they can request for a farmer to accompany them under the jurisdiction of the police.

“The police officer is much better off now with the assistance of a hands-on expert in the form of a farmer and access to animal movement.”

Farmers who add their names to the new database will take an active part in tackling rural crime.

The database is hoped to uncover the true scale of the problem.

Tim Price, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “This will send a clear message to thieves that stealing livestock is not a crime that is unlikely to be traced and we’ll see insurance claims falling as we have with machinery in areas with strong farm watch groups.”