October 2021

Seasonal focus

Whilst the nights are drawing in and the weather conditions have taken a very seasonal downturn, it is very apparent from the information submitted by our team for this update, that is a continuing wealth of activity across the whole of Sussex, with a strong focus on partnership working.

Working alongside officers from district councils, the Environment Agency, Natural England and many others, provides so many benefits. As well as being able to share intelligence and make use of a wider range of enforcement powers, it helps deliver a message to those involved in rural criminality that they are being pursued from all angles. This coupled with our valuable partnership with rural communities makes it harder for criminals to operate.

Someone ‘making a living’ by stealing from farms and historic buildings, or perhaps. illegally breeding and selling puppies, needs to be aware that they may also be of interest to the Department for Work and Pensions, Trading Standards, or Environmental Health as just a few examples. It is right that we all work together to disrupt and prosecute those who choose to cause misery to those who work hard and honestly for a living.

As we move steadily into autumn the Rural Crime Team is developing further partnerships. This month we have meetings with the managers of Brighton and Hove City Council’s waste enforcement team and Wealden District Council’s Street Scene Enforcement Team. We already work together on issues across Sussex and we continue to look at more ways of forging partnerships and enhance the service to our communities.



Fly-tipping incidents in Wealden district

The Rural Crime Team is working with Wealden District Council’s Street Scene Enforcement Team, appealing for information and investigating a series of fly-tipping incidents in the Crowborough and Eridge areas. The waste consists of boxes of butchered pig remains which is of great concern. Not only is extremely unpleasant for anyone who finds it, it presents a serious environmental hazard and may be linked to unregulated meat entering the food chain.

Please report any waste found to the Street Scene Enforcement Team. If you have any information that may help us with enquiries concerning the above please call101 quoting ref: 47210169095.

Chichester Harbour joint patrols

PCSO Colin Booker and PC Russ Tomlinson joined officers from Chichester District Environmental Health and Natural England for patrols around the harbour and Dell Quay on 10 September. This was a perfect opportunity for engagement with people who were bait digging and cockle picking. There are a number of regulations controlling the harvesting shellfish along our coastline for a number of reasons.

Over picking or harvesting can have a detrimental effect on local stocks, as well as the fine ecological balance of that part of the coastline or water-way. We will enforce the laws regulating the amount harvested, which considers harvesting for personal and commercial use, as well as share this information with partner agencies who may also prosecute. We strongly advise you to check with the local authorities before collecting shellfish in any area, particularly as some may not be deemed suitable for human consumption.

Also, from a wider criminality basis, Illegal shellfish harvesting has been linked to modern slavery. The Rural Crime Team has previously patrolled with officers from the Sussex Police Discovery Team and Border Force investigating these offences and safeguarding vulnerable people. If you see something that’s not quite right, please report any suspicious activity along our coastline.

Positive feedback from a DISC user

Are you a farmer in Sussex? We’d like to invite you to join our Sussex Countrywatch Rural Crime Partnership system on DISC.

Available online and as an app to download, this service provides you with alerts and updates from the team about suspicious vehicles, people and criminality that will be of interest to you. It enables you to report incidents and intelligence to the team too, as well as provide comments and feedback about articles and alerts.

Last month we received the following comment on the Sussex Countrywatch Rural Crime Partnership DISC system about the Alert item: 'Kawasaki Mule and more stolen, Horsham District' - “This is an excellent and informative site that I have just joined because my quad was stolen. Because of the help and advice you have given me I have now had an additional five cameras installed plus security lighting to discourage further theft.”

To join DISC, please speak with one of the team or email [email protected] providing your contact details. DISC is a free service available exclusively to farmers and requires signing up to an information sharing agreement.

South of England Autumn Show

We were delighted to be joined on our stand at the South of England Autumn Show on 2 and 3 October by our colleagues from Surrey Police, who spent the two days engaging with visitors, handing out information and talking with landowners and rural workers from across our counties (and beyond). Whilst the weather on the Saturday was less than perfect (our kit is still drying out now), there were still good visitor numbers and a great opportunity to meet more of our rural communities.

Damage to a historic building

St Nicolas Church in Pevensey was targeted by lead thieves on Monday 13 September. Although the suspects had already caused damage to the building, they were disturbed before they could make off with the lead, thanks to quick reporting by the person reporting. Response officers pursued the suspects and arrested the man involved.

The investigation is continuing with PC Leone of the East Sussex Rural Crime Team leading the enquiries. If you have any information that may assist with the investigation then please call 101 quoting ref: 47210156774.


Engage with us

Follow the Rural Crime Team on Twitter @SussexRuralCops

You can report rural crime online.

You can also anonymously report rural crime online using The National Farmers' Union's Rural Crime Reporting Line or calling 0800 783 0137. This lets you give information about crime relating to:

  • large scale industrial fly-tipping
  • hare coursing
  • machinery theft
  • livestock theft.