Even the Police are victims of crime by PC Rob Cross

I never anticipated starting this article as a victim of crime. It’s no secret that the marked police Land Rover Defenderthat is based at Market Bosworth police station had all its doors and the bonnet stolen while it was parked outside the police station. I locked it up at 11pm one night and when we came in the next morning, we found all the major panels had been stripped off it. It just goes to show that nothing is safe. The audacity of those responsible is staggering. 

Every cloud does have a silver lining and hopefully the national media attention following our misfortune can prevent a member of the public being a victim of a similar crime. 

Early September saw our Police and Crime Commissioner - Lord Willy Bach - attending one of our rural crime delivery groups. It’s at these meetings we discuss emerging threats, tactics and have a chance to discuss how we can better police our large rural communities. 

Sheep worrying was one of the hot topics this month. I posted a brief update on our Facebook page (search Facebook for Leics and Rutland Rural Watch) – a quick common sense guide on what to do. 

It is an offence to allow a dog to worry sheep. Worrying includes attacking or chasing sheep. 

Police have a power to seize the dog if the owner isn't present and they believe the dog is responsible for an attack. If we can identify the person responsible (not necessarily the owner) they can be interviewed and either put before the court or ordered to pay expenses. 

In some circumstances, farmers are legally entitled to shoot dogs if they are endangering their sheep. Bear in mind potential firearms act offences – where the gun is aimed and who at. Can you justify losing your licence by shooting in a moment of rage? Remember – you must be able to justify your actions. 

The main problem is that quantifying the damage caused to pregnant ewes is almost impossible and attributing it to a particular dog / attack is too. 

Put up overt signs if you have a footpath and consider your fencing provisions. 

Often - your best friend is a smartphone with a decent camera. Take photos of the dog and the person responsible for it if possible and report to police on 101. 

Dog owners 

Keep dogs on leads especially where there are sheep. Different farmers put their tup (ram) in with the ewes at different times of the year, so if your dog happens to run the sheep, they may be pregnant and you may cause them to abort their lambs. 

The physical damage to sheep is only the start. Sheep can have heart attacks and die from the stress and exhaustion. 

Enjoy the Autumn months and stay safe and secure. Rob.