Huge public support for new action to fight rural crime

Fly-tipping and livestock worrying are 'devastating' farmers across the UK, the NFU says
Fly-tipping and livestock worrying are 'devastating' farmers across the UK, the NFU says

Nearly 70,000 people have backed the NFU’s calls for urgent action to tackle rural crime, demonstrating the strength of feeling to create a safer countryside.

As newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners take up their posts, more than 50,000 people have signed the union's open letter.

It demands action to tackle fly-tipping, including working more closely with local authorities and landowners on prevention, clean-up and prosecution.

A further 19,000 have supported changes to legislation to prevent dog attacks on farm animals, including increasing fines and giving police more powers to seize dogs.

This support follows years of NFU campaigning on the issue and coincides with a new government commitment to give police new powers to respond to incidents.

NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said incidents such as fly-tipping and livestock worrying were 'devastating' for farmers across the country.

"Not a week goes by where I don’t hear from a farmer about an industrial-scale amount of rubbish being dumped on their farm, or a farmer losing sheep as a result of a savage dog attack.

“Not only does it hurt their ability to produce food and damage the work they’ve done for the environment, but it has a huge toll on farming families.

The farm is not only our place of work but also our home. To be subject to these crimes on such a regular basis is unacceptable."

In its ‘Action Plan for Animal Welfare’, the government has said it will legislate to ensure new police powers so they can respond to serious incidents of livestock worrying.

The government's action plan, unveiled on Tuesday (11 May), also includes a commitment to crack down on hare coursing.

Mr Roberts said it was 'clear' from the numbers supporting the union's campaign that the public backed the police taking action to 'rid rural Britain of this scourge'.

"They hugely value the benefits the countryside brings, and they don’t want it blighted by huge dumps of litter on the side of the road or farm animals attacked by out of control dogs.

“I hope the election of new Police and Crime Commissioners can act as a reset moment," he added.