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Campaign aims to cut crime in rural areas

By David Young, PA

Some 560 crimes linked to agricultural-based activity took place in Northern Ireland last year.

The figures emerged as a campaign was launched to urge more people to report crime targeting rural communities.

Stormont's Departments of Justice and Agriculture have teamed up with the police and a range of farming organisations to highlight the message.

The awareness campaign features outdoor advertising and social media initiatives.

The Rural Crime Partnership behind the idea includes representatives from the Department of Justice, PSNI, Ulster Farmers' Union, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, NFU Mutual and Young Farmers' Clubs.

Police figures show 560 burglary, robbery and theft offences relating to agricultural-based activity were recorded in 2016.

The highest number of crimes (106) took place in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.

Supporting the initiative, PSNI Superintendent Brian Kee said: "As part of our continuing work, the Rural Crime Partnership have been working very closely with Crimestoppers and very much welcomes the launch of this campaign, which raises awareness of rural crime issues and encourages people to provide information anonymously."

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