Since their launch last year, Cumbria's dedicated Rural Crime Team have recovered £100,000 worth of stolen property.

Between September 19, 2023 and January 31, 2024, they successfully reduced plant and machinery theft by 10 per cent, compared to the same period in the prior year.

The team has also seized six vehicles suspected of use in crime and conducted 18 searches at various premises.

Highlighting their achievements in 2023, quad bike thefts dropped by 15 per cent, high value machinery thefts by 10 per cent, and sheep theft by over 6 per cent in contrast to 2022 figures.

Through active community engagement, the team maintains communication with 978 local contacts on dedicated WhatsApp groups.

This approach also supports their ongoing efforts to support victims of rural crime, with 90 premises receiving crime prevention advice to avert re-victimisation.

Established to combat rural crime, the team is jointly funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC) and the constabulary.

The OPFCC provides funding for the roles of a rural crime technical advisor and a rural crime co-ordinator and ensures the team is equipped with crime prevention gear like SelectaDNA.

The Westmorland Gazette: Established to combat rural crime, the team is jointly funded by the Office of the Police, Fire and

Deputy police, fire and crime commissioner, Mike Johnson said: "I’ve been out with the Rural Crime Team on several operations since their launch and I am truly impressed with the team’s dedication to their roles and how they deal with crimes across such a large rural terrain.

"Without the reporting and concern raising from our residents, we wouldn’t have had such a clear indication of where we need to place our resources in the county.

"Together we can make Cumbria an even safer place to live, work and visit."

Rural crime team sergeant, Amanda McKirdy added: "As a team, we have already been proactive in targeting those who think Cumbria is a soft target for rural crime," McKirdy said.

"We are determined to create a hostile environment for criminals and to safeguard local communities."

She went on to encourage local communities to stay vigilant and report incidents as rural crime is often underreported.