THE Home Secretary has committed to tackling rural crime in Somerset after a meeting with MP candidate Faye Purbrick. 

Faye, who is candidate for the new seat of Glastonbury and Somerton, attended a roundtable with The RT Hon James Cleverly MP and Farming Minister Mark Spencer MP to discuss what the government is doing to tackle rural crime on May 8. 

Faye, along with other south west MPs, talked about issues including hare coursing and the theft of farm machinery. She also discussed organised gangs operating from illegal encampments across Glastonbury and Somerton. 

Faye said: “I am grateful to the Home Secretary and the Minister for Farming for taking the time to meet with us, rural crime is often an unreported and overlooked issue and I am pleased the government is taking a steadfast approach to tackling it. 

“I am committed to working with local people across Glastonbury and Somerton to ensure that whether they live in one of our brilliant towns or beautiful rural areas, they feel safe in their own homes and, importantly, safe to go about their day-to-day business without fear or concern. 

“Farmers and rural residents across Somerset and the south west must believe the police and their representatives are on their side, and I am grateful that the Government is already taking robust action to deliver this.” 

MPs also mentioned the need for the new Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to focus on rural areas. 

Mr Cleverly said: “Far too often, rural crime can be the scourge on our rural communities, but the Government are committed to tackling this issue.

“The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act empowers and equips the police and courts with the powers they need to combat hare coursing, and the Government is supporting the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act, which aims to prevent the theft of quad bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles. We are also funding the National Wildlife Crime Unit and the new National Rural Crime Unit, which will support forces nationally in their response to rural crime such as theft of farming construction machinery, livestock theft and rural fly-tipping.

“Whether someone lives in the countryside, a town, or a city, they should have the same peace of mind when going about their daily lives.”

Mr Spencer added: “It is vitally important that farmers and rural residents can live and work safe from crime.

“We are working closely with likes of the National Farmers Union, and others to share good practices, and we have already funded a post within the national crime unit to explore how the police’s role in tackling fly-tipping and theft of farm machinery can be optimised.”