Rural Crime


 Crime prevention advice for our rural communities


What is Farm Watch?
It is a partnership between the farming community and the police to encourage vigilance and communication. Intelligence is a vital tool in crime reduction and members of the public can assist by providing information no matter how trivial it may seem.



If a pattern arises as a result of the information received we can then act upon this and address the issue. By communicating with each other we can help to prevent many crimes from happening in the first place, thus making the community a safer and more crime free area.

There are many benefits to being part of the Farm Watch scheme and these include:

• Where there are recurrent problems we can work together to tackle these by setting up operations etc.

• Reduction in crime and the fear of crime impacting on the community.

• Information sharing between the police and Farm Watch members in relation to specific incidents.

• Vigilant members who in partnership with the police will create a safer environment.

The aims of Farm Watch are to:

• Reduce Opportunities for crime and vandalism.

• Strengthen community spirit so that everyone plays their part in protecting their property.

• Report of suspicious incidents as they occur.

• Improve two-way communication between farmers and the police.

• To introduce early warning systems in farming and rural areas.

• Reduce the fear of crime.

Remember that we would never encourage you to put yourself at risk, but to observe, make a note of descriptive details vehicle registrations and phone the police.

Should you wish to become a member of Farm Watch, please contact your local Farm Watch coordinator in your area by contact telephone number 101

What is Wildlife Crime?
Wildlife Crime may take many forms from persons shooting at wildlife in nature reserves to the more organised crimes of badger baiting and the trade in endangered species.

With large populations of wild birds, animals and plants, many of which are protected by law, we need to protect species from persecution and hold those individuals accountable for their misguided actions when they break the law.
Durham Constabulary aims to provide a professional, effective and timely response to Wildlife Crime through developing and maintaining active working partnerships with local and national wildlife organisations in order to reduce, prevent and issue enforcement regarding wildlife persecution and together raise awareness of wildlife crime and environmental issues.

Law Enforcement
Durham Constabulary are responsible for enforcing the law in relation to:
•Illegal trade in endangered species
•Killing, injuring, taking, disturbing wild birds
•Taking, possessing, destroying wild birds eggs/nest disturbance
•Badger persecution
•Killing, injuring, taking, disturbing wild bats
•Illegal snaring of wild animals
•Illegal hunting of wild mammals
•Damaging protected sites
•Illegal poisoning of wildlife
•Disturbing cetaceans
•Stealing wild plants
•Illegal hunting and poaching

Wildlife in County Durham
County Durham is a large rural county which incorporates the North Pennines, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Teesdale and Weardale have the most diverse range of environments and habitats ranging from wetlands to hill and moorland areas, but we also have coastal areas surrounding Seaham and Peterlee.
We are lucky to have wildlife which live and breed successfully and which does not exist in other parts of the country including marsh harriers, black grouse and lapwing.
As a rural county issues reported regularly by the community are in relation to poaching of deer and other animals, offences against badgers and the disturbance of wildlife.
All wildlife crime can be difficult to prevent and investigate as it quite often takes place out of sight of the public view but when intelligence and information is received these offences can be investigated.

How to report a Wildlife Crime
Incidents should be reported as you would any other crime by calling:
Durham Constabulary on 101
In an emergency 999 

If you would like to discuss an issue relating to wildlife crime please use the non emergency number 101.
More Information
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) 
The Badger Trust - a registered charity which promotes and enhances the welfare, conservation and protection of badgers, their setts and habitats.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - the largest wildlife conservation charity in Europe

Bat Conservation Trust - the UK's national voice for bat conservation

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals - the UK's leading animal welfare charity. Includes a section on Wildlife Laws

If you are concerned about the welfare of a horse(s) contact the BHS Welfare team on 02476 840517 or email    ​