Devon & Cornwall Police Rural Affairs are warning that rural crime is on the rise but have some sensible tips to help protect against such activity.

Farms are being targeted by criminal gangs looking for scrap metal, batteries and fuel. When it comes to avoiding metal theft the police suggest:

  • Regularly reviewing the perimeter fencing and gates security - checking for holes and weak spots which could allow people access.
  • Improving visibility by cutting back vegetation, moving bins or improving the lighting.
  • Ensuring any materials or equipment stored near to buildings does not allow easy access to the roof. Anti-climb paint or physical barriers can be used to prevent access, but all anti-climb devices must be clearly signposted to comply with the Occupiers Liability Act 1984.
  • Not leaving any scrap metals lying around which could tempt thieves.
  • Using a forensic solution to mark any lead - warning signs saying forensic marking has been used should be displayed.

In addition, the police have reported a "marked increase" in quadbike and ATV theft reports in Devon.

They offer the following tips:

  • Consider your layered security.
  • Get a tracker fitted.
  • Be vigilant for suspicious people and vehicles near your farm.
  • Remove the keys from the ignition.

For non-emergencies and to report crime to the police call 101 or email or in an emergency call 999.