When a farmer shoots a burglar or his bull gores a walker the rural community hits the headlines; for the remainder, countryside matters go largely unreported. We sometimes feel that the police also think of crime in terms of towns and cities, especially when you’re reporting an incident from the middle of a wood and the operator keeps asking for your postcode.
Theft is a recurring problem, though last week was exceptional, with a car stolen from outside a house in the hamlet and a break-in at Hilltop Farm, with small items taken. Both these where at places where people were living, which is more unusual; buildings with no house nearby are more usual targets. Metal theft was top of the list till a year or so ago, when the authorities belatedly tightened up controls at the scrap yards where the stuff always finished up.
Another problem which has diminished is dumping in farm gateways, often household waste which someone has been paid to take to the authorised tip. Be the amount large or small, we always clear it ourselves straight away; rubbish has an uncanny ability to attract more rubbish.
And then there is fuel theft – here we have a curious situation. Someone is using a pull-in on our Ashby Lodge drive to transfer diesel from a vehicle. The evidence consists of the slicks of spilt diesel across the tarmac, and the five funnels, made out of pop bottles, which I have picked up on my morning bike rides over the past two months. The police have been told, as have our gamekeepers and others; someone somewhere is losing fuel. The spot has been known as White Gate Corner, but I’m thinking of renaming it Diesel Bend.