Farms under attack from gangs – claim

Chris Leicester who had his JCB stolen from his farm in Walton
Chris Leicester who had his JCB stolen from his farm in Walton
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FARMS are under attack from gangs stealing machinery to order and shipping it abroad to sell on the black market.

The claim was made by Chris Leicester after his £50,000 Caterpillar digger was stolen from his farm in Walton by burglars who drove it through a concrete barn to make their escape.

Mr Leicester, 26, said: “When the digger was found near by it had already been cleaned. It looked like they had got it ready to load onto a truck.

“It was definitely stolen to order because they could have also taken a fork lift truck and my pick-up but they only took exactly what they wanted.”

He also believes that his farm, on Shay Lane, was watched before the burglary took place on Thursday, January 27.

Mr Leicester said: “This is a massive problem and people need to be aware of what is happening.”

Around £20,000 worth of damage was caused at the farm, on Shay Lane, during the burglary.

Mr Leicester says more information about rural crimes needs to be circulated through the police Farm Watch system.

Acting Insp Lee Carlson, head of the Rural neighbourhood police team (NPT), said details of the theft of the digger were immediately circulated on the police national computer system.

Acting Insp Carlson said: “Farmwatch is a form of neighbourhood watch – a communication hub for local farmers to be able to help each other.

“This is exactly what happened here. The message got out that the digger was missing, someone rang in shortly after the theft to say that they had discovered it and it was subsequently recovered.”

He also said other Farm Watch members felt that problems with theft and other crimes including poaching had decreased recently.

Anyone with information should contact Wakefield CID on 0845 6060606. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.