Police have visited a number of farms and small businesses as part of a day of action to tackle burglaries in rural areas.

People were given DNA kits to mark their valuable tools, equipment and machinery, as well as CCTV posters and information on using the UK’s national property register.

Wealden Police neighbourhood policing team visited farms, villages and businesses at the beginning of the month to give advice on how to protect their livelihood.

The force said it is a growing issue across the country and many rural crimes go unreported.

The Argus: Officers visited farms and small businessesOfficers visited farms and small businesses (Image: Sussex Police)

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Some owners shared that had previously been victims of a burglary, so police gave them prevention tools and kits to help secure their property and put extra interventions in place.

“These included Selecta DNA Kits to mark their valuable tools, equipment, and machinery, as well as CCTV posters and information on the UK’s National Property Register, where photographs of their valuable property can be kept

“Owners were also shown how to find and use their serial numbers and take photographs of valuable property to help identify ownership in the event their property is stolen as a result of a burglary.

The Argus: Officer in Horam, near HeathfieldOfficer in Horam, near Heathfield (Image: Sussex Police)

“Officers visited farms in Selmeston, Chiddingly, East Hoathly, Whitesmith, Waldron, Forest Row, Blackham, Groombridge, Wadhurst, Cowden and Holtye - with farms ranging from cattle farms to stud farms and everything in between.”

Sussex Police’s full list of advice is as follows:

  • lock equipment away in a secure building or part of a building when not in use
  •  install a burglar alarm on buildings where equipment is kept
  • keep expensive items and vehicles out of sight when not in use
  • mark your tools and equipment and register them
  • consider fitting outside security lights
  • install a visible burglar alarm
  • make sure windows and door frames are secure and in good repair
  • fit strong locks to sheds, garages and outbuildings
  • consider security bars and grilles for vulnerable windows and openings
  • make sure gates cannot be lifted off or have their fixing bolts removed
  • check security equipment regularly to ensure it works properly
  • use locking posts or temporary obstructions to control wide access points to yards

The Argus: Sussex Police said many rural crimes do not get reportedSussex Police said many rural crimes do not get reported (Image: The Argus)

For additional security, owners could also:

  • install automatic security lights that come on at dusk and turn off at dawn
  •  install CCTV cameras to watch over the most vulnerable areas of the property
  • install a monitored intruder alarm system
  • install an entry control system infrared, intercom or keypad
  • use a single gated entrance/exit, removing all private access points that are not in use

People can anonymously report rural crime online using The National Farmers' Union's rural crime reporting line or calling 0800 783 0137. This lets you give information about crime relating to large scale industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, machinery theft and livestock theft.