Theft and Vandalism
How far should we go in securing our property? Time was when every farmyard had a yapping dog on chain and the back door was unlocked all day. Our busy farmyard at Castle Farm had no dog, but the kitchen door welcomed all comers. When we moved to Staunton Harold Hall we were still fairly relaxed until we were burgled twice in broad daylight and lost items both valuable and sentimental. Now the doors are on code locks and visitors must ring the bell. Sad to say we get less visitors.
On the wider estate our field gates and tracks are mostly padlocked. Drives in regular use are left open, and this is where we sometimes get trouble. For several years we’ve had problems at our visitors car park, which is approached from two directions. It is a haunt for late night drinking sessions, and an oval race track to rival Silverstone. In the last few weeks the problems here have escalated. Our red hut, the base for our ticket collectors at the weekends, has been vandalised three nights running. There is nothing to steal, but seemingly some satisfaction to be had from smashing the windows and kicking the door in.
It is hard not to view these things as a personal affront. In this instance have informed the Police, including numbers and descriptions of some vehicles involved but we know that we are low priority. One has to weigh things up and make a proportionate response. As a first step we are restoring the rutted parkings areas and placing heavy logs to thwart the boy racers.
Then, if necessary, we will look at gating the car park, and locking it off at night. This might be done manually, or on a timer as is done elsewhere. Whichever way incurs cost; its a question of what will answer best for the long term.