Farmers urged to be alert after Stokesley thefts

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Police are investigating whether a series of farm thefts in the Stokesley area could be linked.

Local farmers are being warned to be alert after five farms had outbuildings attacked over the last week. Thieves have targeted power tools and farm vehicles such as quadbikes and motorcycles, and have also stolen a Transit van from one farm.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said while officers had not yet linked the incidents, they were considering whether they were connected.

On March 30 thieves were disturbed by the farmer attempting to break into an outbuilding at a Great Ayton farm, causing damage to the building and a vehicle in the process at 2.45am.

Three farm outbuildings were also burgled overnight March 30-31 at Great Broughton, where theives stole tools, at Great Busby where a white Transit van, registration AJ59 BKU, was stolen along with two generators and several power tools including a JCB pneumatic drill, Stihl chain and stone saws and at Nunthorpe where a 2012 Orange KTM off road motorcycle was stolen, registration DX12 ONG

A farm on the outskirts of Stokesley was broken into Between March 29 and April 1 and a green Yamaha Kodiak quadbike stolen.

Sgt Nick Hill, of Stokesley Police, said: “What is particularly concerning is the lengths the thieves have gone to commit these offences. Several of these crimes have involved cutting solid locks and chains from doors and from some of the vehicles themselves. The victims have not been complacent, and had taken steps to secure their property in several cases, but the thieves had come well-equipped to overcome that security.

“I would urge all farmers to review their security and as, well as securing their outbuildings, to also fit alarms and to mark their property – be that overtly by engraving tools or covertly with chemical treatments such as Smartwater. In the event they are stolen this greatly assists us in returning them to their rightful owners.

“Please report any suspicious people, activity or vehicles in rural areas immediately by calling 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room. If an emergency response is required, always dial 999. Information can also be passed on without giving your name by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“I would also encourage the public to join our Ruralwatch scheme and help us increase patrols in our rural communities. For more information about schemes in your area, call 101, select option 2, and ask for your local police station.”