Fear spreads as 30 farms are targeted by criminals

Farm communities in North Yorkshire are living in fear as criminals continue a crime spate that has hit more than 30 farms over a period of 10 weeks, according to police.

Quad bikes and other farm machinery have been stolen since the spate began in November last year, police said.

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The crime level is so serious that North Yorkshire and Cleveland forces have mounted a joint operation and night patrols to bring the crooks to justice.

Officers from seven different units, including firearms and helicopter patrols, have been drafted in, as the crime wave shows no sign of abating.

To date, one 4×4 truck has been seized after a high-speed chase from North Yorkshire to Cleveland. Efforts are now focused on tracking the suspects, who fled the vehicle.

A stolen quad bike was also recovered on 18 January, with the police operation closing in on the thieves.

Detective Inspector Phil Giblin, of North Yorkshire Police said the situation was abhorrent and would not be tolerated.

DI Gilbin said thieves had spread fear and misery among the farming community and would be stopped.  

Despite the assurances, some farms in the area have mounted patrols and employed private security staff, but DI Gilbin urged people not to take matters into their own hands if they disturbed perpetrators.

Extra resources have been deployed in the area and anyone faced with an ongoing crime should call 999 for the best chance of catching suspects in the act, he said.

Two arrests were made during one night-time patrol in the area after a rural resident called 999. Police responded quickly and apprehended a 35-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman on suspicion of burglary. Both have been bailed pending further enquiries.