Warwickshire Police join tri-force operation to target those involved in illegal butchery and sheep theft

Warwickshire Police joined a tri-force operation last week to target those involved in illegal butchery and sheep theft.

The operation also involved Northamptonshire Police and Leicestershire Police and took place overnight, August 16 - 17.

Photo supplied by Warwickshire Police.

Photo supplied by Warwickshire Police.

The aim was to disrupt and deter criminals targeting rural areas along the A5 corridor and rural communities in the Rugby area.

As a result of the operation; 15 vehicles were stopped checked in the Rugby rural area, 18 farm visits were made, one suspicious incident was attended, two breathalyser tests were carried out and overall, more than 268 police checks were carried out as a result of the tri-force operation.

During the operation officers and staff from Warwickshire Police's rural crime team, SNT and Special Constabulary worked together with neighbouring forces to target the activities of offenders attending fields populated with sheep in the rural areas, primarily along the A5 corridor, and either illegally butchering or stealing them.

Representatives from partners including the DVSA, NFU and a stolen vehicle tracking specialist were also on hand so vehicles, caravans, trailers and rural plant and machinery could be expertly examined.

Officers and staff also responded to reports of suspicious persons or vehicles, burglary and thefts in progress.

Officers who were double crewed also patrolled designated areas along the A5 and villages nearby and previously targeted locations to make intelligence led stops of any suspicious vehicles.

Officers and staff also used the operation to target any potential criminal activity in the rural areas police are patrolling.

Officers stopped any vehicles that they suspected may be stolen including plant vehicles that should not be out during these hours, any agricultural vehicles, any vehicle towing a trailer, any vehicle with a Warwickshire Police 'Please Stop Me Sticker' and 4x4 vehicles.

Inspector 017 Allison Wiggin said "These offences have a significant impact on the farming and rural community and we hope this operation helps to reassure our communities around the action we are continuing to take to reduce rural crime.

"In addition to this positive police activity, officers and staff used the opportunity to engage with the public to discuss any concerns and provide information and crime prevention advice.

The operation could not have taken place without the support of Warwickshire's special constables.

Special constables are uniformed, warranted police volunteers giving up anything from four hours a week at a time that suits them, helping police towns and villages alongside regular officers.

CO 3313 Katherine Hancock said: "I am extremely proud of the contribution the special constables have made to protecting our rural communities from harm during this operation.

"Specials are the ultimate active citizens, creating the crucial link between police and the communities by taking part in the way their communities are policed and helping to cut crime and the fear of crime."

A man arrested in connection with a series of illegal sheep butchery offences has been released on bail after officers from Northamptonshire Police and Warwickshire Police executed warrants at four addresses in Coventry on Saturday, August 10 as part of joint investigations into incidents of sheep slaughter, illegal butchery and theft as Operation Hillman investigations continue.