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Gloucestershire Business News

Spate of break-ins and theft in the Cotswolds

A series of break-ins and thefts have happened in the Cotswolds over recent days and police are asking people to report suspicious behaviour.

There were numerous reports of offenders forcing access to outbuildings before stealing items which included quad bikes, gardening and agricultural tools and machinery on Tuesday (April 25).

Incidents in Lechlade and Stow-on-the-Wold saw offenders steal quad bikes from farms after forcing access to outbuildings.

In an incident near Kemble offenders broke into a container on a farm and stole high-end gardening equipment worth thousands of pounds.

Another incident in Toddington saw offenders force entry to a van and steal approximately £15,000 worth of joinery tools.

A series of incidents also took place last week and involved the thefts of an electric bicycle, quad bike and trailer.

Officers will be taking part in extra patrols and police are asking people to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious behaviour. If you can see offenders at the time of calling, dial 999.

Sergeant George Howe from the Cotswolds Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "We understand how much of an impact rural crimes can have on victims' livelihoods when items like tools and machinery are stolen.

"Often victims lose out on a lot of money due to needing to replace the stolen items or are unable to work completely which is not acceptable.

"We are determined to identify the offenders and I would like to remind residents of the importance of submitting information they have, no matter how big or small, as it could be the one thing, we need to catch those responsible and stop anyone else from being targeted.

"Recently we have worked in conjunction with the Constabulary's crime prevention team to run a number of SmartWater security marking events across the Cotswolds to try and help us link criminals we come across to the various burglaries we investigate."

Rural thieves often target farms, woodland and domestic rural locations and there are a number of measures you can take to help deter them and prevent your property from being stolen.

Equipment and tool security can be a particular issue for rural businesses and farms and advice to help keep your belongings safe can be found below:

• Locking equipment away in a secure building or part of a building when not in use.

• Investing in a secure storage toolbox.

• Installing a burglar alarm on buildings where equipment is kept.

• Always locking vehicles when left outside and keep the keys in your possession.

• Keeping expensive items and vehicles out of sight when not in use.

• Considering using hitch locks, wheel clamps or ground anchors.

• Marking your tools and equipment and register them.

• Keeping a record of all valuable items.

• Considering the installation of outdoor security lights and CCTV cameras.

Additional information on rural crimes and crime prevention advice can be found here.

Anyone who has been the victim of a rural crime can report this online or calling 999 if a crime is in progress.

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