Shropshire farmers welcome increased police presence in rural areas after livestock killed and stolen
Shropshire farmers who have had livestock killed or stolen have welcomed a police commitment to increase patrols in rural communities.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) and West Mercia Police officers met with members to hear their concerns following a number of cases of livestock theft and in-field butchery over the last 12 months.
Jim Davies, who farms livestock near Shrewsbury: "In the past 12 months we have had two incidents of sheep taken and slaughtered in the field.
"Both incidents were probably about three weeks apart and only half a mile apart geographically. The first time they killed two sheep in the field and then took a few down a little track and did the rest of it down there.
"The next time they scooped the sheep out of the field, took them to a little wood close to the vicinity and did the same there.
"I am pleased to see some police engagement on this."
Mr Davies said he had heard of a variety of incidents across the West Midlands, including thieves being disturbed, and said an increased police presence was needed when incidents seemed to be taking place regularly.
Giles Ratcliffe, who farms at Whixall, has seen large numbers of stock go missing.
He said: "Last season we had 120 sheep stolen and the season before we had 330 - mainly March to May when all the sheep have come back home and are ready for market.
"They have assured us they will do more patrols in specific areas at specific times and that’s really encouraging.
"I thought the meeting was good as there was perhaps a bit more of an eagerness to do more in rural areas and acknowledge the issues these areas have been having.
"We appreciate the police have a lot on their plate, but hopefully this is a step in the right direction."
Superintendent Mo Lansdale outlined some of the tactics officers could employ including additional evening patrols in hotspot areas, which she would be put in place.
She added: "Our rural communities are very much our eyes and ears, they know what seems out of the ordinary or not quite right in their local community and play a crucial part in working with us to help make all of our communities even safer.
"I would always encourage people who live in some of our most remotest areas to come forward and report anything suspicious, either to ourselves or anonymously through Crimestoppers."