MP goes on patrol with rural crime taskforce in Wensleydale

Rishi Sunak has been out on patrol with Richmondshire’s crime-busting rural taskforce.

The Richmond MP accompanied PCSO Bryan Tongue on a visit to the Hawes area.

PCSO Tongue is part of a team of officers set up by North Yorkshire Police to target rural crime in England’s biggest county.

During the patrol they called on an elderly couple who had a valuable collie sheedog and seven pups stolen from a farm nearby.

They were updated on the investigation into the theft and given advice about securing their other property, particularly a sought-after Land Rover Defender.

PCSO Tongue supplied the couple with a Defender security kit and helped them security mark different parts of the vehicle.

The officer told Mr Sunak that Defenders, now out of production and rising in value, were popular targets for professional criminals, along with quad bikes, trailers, power tools and pressure washers.

He said the taskforce was also targetting poaching, particularly hare-coursing.

Operation Hawk was an ongoing intelligence-led initiative to identify, track and trace cross-border criminals coming into the county from Teesside, County Durham and West Yorkshire.

Mr Sunak said: “I found my time spent with Bryan hugely encouraging. His passion for his tackling rural crime was really infectious. This is real community policing tailored for the area served.”

The MP added that the Rural Taskforce – the biggest specialist rural team in the country – was making a difference. NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Report published earlier this year showed that the cost of rural crime in the county fell by 17 per cent at a time when the national rural crime trend had risen.