A burglary victim thanked officers from Kent Police’s Rural Task Force after they were able to reunite him with a valuable piece of equipment that had been stolen.

A woodchipper, worth £21,000, was taken when thieves targeted a business in Womenswold in December. The culprits cut open storage containers and stole the valuable machinery before running away across farmland.

The officers were quick to respond and enquiries led them to a nearby wooded area where they located the item and notified the owner.

He later told officers that the theft would have devastated his business and said the recovery had ‘saved his family’s Christmas.’

Enquiries to locate the offenders remain ongoing.

The incident was just one of many investigated by the Rural Task Force in December, a month that resulted in 11 people being arrested, 11 vehicles seized, 13 tickets being issued for traffic offences and five straying horses being seized and rehomed.

The team also worked with councils across Kent to provide a joint response to tackle fly-tipping, a costly crime that blights rural communities.

The seven-force collaboration targeting the illegal blood sport of hare coursing continued to yield good results with three people being issued with a Community Protection Warning and one person being given a Community Protection Notice after being caught illegally hunting with dogs. A number of other incidents remain under investigation.

Sergeant Darren Walshaw said: ‘The team continues to tackle issues impacting rural communities and have been successful in recovering high value property and working with other forces to combat illegal blood sports.

‘The Farm Watch scheme continues to go from strength to strength with intelligence being fed quickly to officers which has allowed them to respond immediately to incidents and catch offenders in the act.’

By Ed

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