POLICE are urging farmers to join forces to tackle crime and poaching.

Following an increase in sheep thefts, PCSO Sean Simpson is keen to build relationships with farmers and gamekeepers to work alongside the police to help catch criminals. In the latest incident, seven sheep worth about £1,000 were stolen from Craven Garth Farm, in the Rosedale area of Ryedale, between March 15 and 19.

PCSO Simpson said: “The idea behind this partnership is to help gather intelligence on any suspect vehicles and to deter thefts and poaching in the area. The patrols would run in the late evening and early morning. I’m also looking for a member of the farming community to help drive the idea forward and be a point of contact with the police.”

In particular, the partnership will work to gather information about suspicious vehicles in Ryedale, mainly in the Pickering area where there is a particular problem.

Poaching in the area has also been raised by Ryedale district councillors as an issue which needs tackling.

Councillor Eric Hope said: “There does not seem to be a lot done about poaching in the area, particularly hunting with dogs.”

Inspector Andy Everitt said: “It is really key to us that people report whether they have heard or seen poaching.”

Phone PCSO Simpson on 101 or email and anyone with information about the Craven Garth Farm theft can phone PC William Knappon on 101.