North West Wales

Anglesey farmers urged to join OWL anti-crime drive

A farmer using a quad bike
Image caption A farmer riding a quad bike, which are among items frequently targeted by rural thieves

Police have urged Anglesey farmers to join a scheme to help cut down on the number of thefts in rural areas.

North Wales officers told a meeting at Llangefni there had been a reduction in crime on the island, but more needs to be done.

Recent items stolen from farms include quad bikes, tools and fuel.

Under the Online Watch Link (OWL) scheme members can contact police with information or be warned if thieves are about.

Statistics from rural insurer NFU Mutual show rural thefts in Wales totalled £2.3m in 2011, compared to £1.7m in 2010, a rise of more than 30%.

Dennis Owen, the Police Community Support Officer for Amlwch, said the scheme - Online Watch Link (OWL) - is being run across north Wales with the support of farming unions.

"If there is a theft, or someone in a van is acting suspiciously around the area, the police can let people who are members of the scheme know by contacting them over the phone, mobile or email. And it's free," he added.

Insp Gethin Jones from North Wales Police said the figures for crime on Anglesey "speak for themselves".

"Crime on Anglesey in general has gone down over the past year.

"Burglaries other than dwellings, that's from sheds etc, are down 46% since this time last year."

Insp Jones said the purpose of the meeting at Tafarn y Rhos near Llangefni, was to share information about the OWL scheme in a bid to cut figures further.

Welding equipment

"My message would be for people to join the scheme which is really good and obviously works," he said.

"We need to tackle this problem together so that fewer people become victims," he added.

Wil Edwards, who farms at Rhos Goch near Amlwch, has lost two Land Rover engines and welding equipment from a locked shed, a car from the farm yard, and a bullock and heifer over the past three months.

"I felt angry when it happened because your property should be left alone, shouldn't it?

"Someone has been to your yard and stolen things. It's not a nice feeling," he added.

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