Police in Wales have been giving hands-on support to riders following a spate of thefts. Gwent Police’s Rural Crime team took action after a rise in thefts from yards across the largely rural county, including some high-profile riders.

The team was keen to share prevention tips with all riders across the county. Using the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ approach, officers visited yards, feed suppliers and shows to offer advice as well as sharing Smartwater packs. The packs allow tack and other high value items to be marked up using a water-based solution unique to each user, making them easier to track and return should they be stolen.

Along with warning signs making potential thieves aware of the measures in place, police say this approach has proved “highly successful” in deterring criminals from all types of property. It’s part of a national initiative to tackle all aspects of acquisitive crime, from signing up second-hand retailers to help identify potentially stolen goods to sharing prevention advice and kits with potential targets.

“We know how important tack and equine equipment can be to those in the equine community,” said PC James Heley. “Not being able to ride, train or compete is a massive issue for riders and the financial impact of losing tack or kit can be devastating.

“Already, we have seen a noticeable reduction in equestrian related thefts reported across Gwent following our activity. Local residents tell us that they feel listened to and safer in their communities.

Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, national police lead for acquisitive crime said We Don’t Buy Crime was an approach that has already had a big impact in other areas.

“As a rider it’s great to see our Rural Crime team out and about talking to other riders and yard owners about how we can work together to stop criminals from benefitting from our hobby or business,” she added.

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