Six more arrests in Norfolk-wide rural crime clampdown

Six more people have been arrested as part of a Norfolk police operation which aims to get tough on rural crime.

Operation Randall was set up by Norfolk police in January and focuses on tackling criminals who target farms and rural communities. The EDP has backed the operation with its own Farm Alert campaign, which urges members of the public to report suspicious activity to the police.

Det Supt Nick Dean, who is in charge of the operation, said: “I am very pleased with the early months of Operation Randall and in particular the interest which has been generated by various organisations. Members of the rural community have supported us in coming forward with information, suspicious activity and specific intelligence, which we have acted upon immediately or used to form part of a wider picture.”

In the latest wave of arrests, three men from Cambridgeshire were arrested for their involvement in hare coursing. The offence has been on the increase in Cambridgeshire and, while there have been only a few reports in Norfolk, Det Supt Dean said it was important the force was aware of the issue.

He added: “Very often people use the guise of hare coursing or rural activities to cover up other criminal activities. This type of crime has often been most prevalent out on the west of the county towards the Lincolnshire/Cambridgeshire border.”

A 51-year-old man from Norwich has also been charged with the theft of lead and a 26-year-old man from Great Yarmouth has been charged with the theft of copper.

Det Supt Dean added he had been pleased at the amount of intelligence gathered from reports by members of the public.

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Such information led to the arrest of a man from Lincolnshire who was found carrying catalytic convertors in the back of his van. Along with batteries and metal, thieves have increasingly been targeting catalytic convertors.

Mr Dean said: “The increased awareness of Operation Randall through many organisations operating in rural locations, as well as communities, has provided us with some real opportunities to act quickly and stop individuals travelling through the county.”

Operation Randall aims to forge closer links between the police and rural communities. The force has formed an alliance with the Farm Watch scheme, the National Farmers’ Union, Norfolk hunts and leading Norwich-based agricultural engineers Ben Burgess.