CLA Midlands has launched a manifesto calling for candidates for the new Police and Crime Commissioner roles to put rural crime high on their agendas.

In its briefing ahead of the PCC elections on November 15, the CLA identified metal, vehicle, machinery and fuel theft, arson, vandalism, poaching and fly-tipping as just some of the crimes that hugely impact rural businesses and communities.

CLA Midlands director Caroline Bedell said: “The forthcoming elections for PCCs are a huge opportunity to highlight the rural voters’ growing concern over rural crime, which must be addressed.

“Rural areas can provide rich and easy pickings and there is no shortage of criminals willing to exploit this. Crime in rural areas takes many forms and is made easier for the perpetrator by the relative isolation of homes and businesses, a maze of country lanes, lack of street lighting, miles of legal public access close to properties and low visible police presence.

Freedom of movement and the free availability of information makes both planning and escape all the easier.”

The CLA is asking its members to report all rural crime, saying that it believes that crime figures do not represent the true picture.

Mrs Bedell said: “The CLA is asking that the new Police and Crime Commissioners put rural crime high on their agendas.

Voters in the countryside will be looking closely at the emphasis that candidates will be placing on rural crime and the CLA will be actively encouraging them to do so.”