Shropshire Star

Police warn Land Rover Defender owners after thefts in South West Shropshire continue

Gangs are continuing to target quad bikes and Land Rover Defenders to steal in south Shropshire, police warn.

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A Land Rover Defender

Enquiries are continuing into a number of incidents in the last month, says an update to residents from the Bishop's Castle and Rural Safer Neighbourhood team.

A police spokesman said: "The last month has seen some further reports of burglaries and thefts in the area where quad bikes and Land Rover Defenders have been targeted."

They report that in one theft in the early hours of New Year's Eve a Land Rover Defender 90 was stolen from a drive in Bishop’s Castle.

The spokesman said: "Offenders have entered the vehicle without a key and pushed it off the drive, they have then bump started it by pushing it down a bank.

"The offenders are believed to be a gang from the West Midlands area, enquires are ongoing and proactive work is being undertaken to target the offenders."

Automatic number plate reading showed that the vehicle was taken towards the West Midlands.

The SNT is based at Bishops Castle Police Station, in Union Street, and covers parishes including Llanfair Waterdine, Bucknell, Hopton Castle, Clungunford, Wistanstow, Lydbury North, Ratlinghope, Stiperstones, Worthen and Chirbury.

The police team also report an incident where two neighbouring farms on the outskirts of Minsterley were targeted on January 13.

Two Honda quad bikes were stolen from outbuildings. Three chainsaws were also stolen from one of the properties.

The spokesman said: " An investigation is still underway by the Serious Acquisitive crime team based at Shrewsbury Police Station around thefts of quads and plant machinery within Shropshire."

In an attempted burglary on January 10 five men had entered a farm yard in Prolley Moor and attempted to prize open a barn door.

A police spokesman said offenders were disturbed by victim and sped off in a car.

"CCTV footage captured of the five males which has been shared with field intelligence investigating West Midlands gang involved in vehicle thefts."

The police are also investigating a couple of other unusual incidents.

In one on New Year's Day a Toyota RAV 4 had been set alight after trespassing on land and becoming stuck.

It had been witnessed driving on land around Bishop’s Castle prior to the fire

A police spokesman said the vehicle "believed to be used by a Welsh gang involved in poaching and hunting mammals (hares) with dogs. Liaison with Dyfed Powys Rural Crime Team."

In another incident on New Year's Day an ambulance crew came across a vehicle overturned in a hedge on A488 near Lydham.

A man was seen running away after seeing blue lights of the ambulance.

A police spokesman said: "Officers located registered keeper who states vehicle had been stolen prior to it crashing."

Police enquires are ongoing.

Officers say that owners of classic Land Rover Defenders or a quad bike should always take some measures to make the vehicle as difficult as you can to steal.

They have advised owners to visit the Land Rover Monthly website for advice on security products here