FARMERS and rangers in Somerset have voiced concerns over police and crime in a meeting with the deputy PCC.

Members of rural communities spoke to John Smith, deputy police and crime commissioner, about the impact of crime in the countryside.

Accompanied by Avon and Somerset Police Rural Crime Team, the Deputy PCC listened to local farmers as they shared their concerns regarding hare coursing, poaching and feelings of intimidation from criminals.

Mr Smith's first meeting was held with a group of local farmers near Langport.

The Rural Crime Team have been working with local landowners in attempt to combat such devastating rural crimes.

Deputy PCC John Smith said: “If you’ve been affected by rural crime, please do report to the police, this helps them to make up a better picture of rural crime taking place in the area.

“Having spoken to the Rural Crime Team, I know that local officers are doing all they can to target prolific offenders of rural crime to keep local people feeling safe.”

Superintendent Mike Prior, Force Lead for Rural Crime at Avon and Somerset Police, added: “Farms and open rural spaces offer opportunities for criminals.

"We must reduce these opportunities and work with local residents to prevent such crimes from happening in the first place. It has a huge victim impact, the cost of machinery is vast as well as the disruption to farming.

“We also need the help of those visiting rural locations. Post office workers, delivery drivers and healthcare professionals are likely to be the ones who might see and hear unusual behaviour in the rural communities they visit.

"We’re asking the public to act as our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to us on 101 or if a crime is in progress by calling 999.”

The Deputy PCC also met with Owen Jones and fellow rangers from the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

During the visit, they discussed crime prevention, the need to reassure rural communities, intimidation and how technology can be used to disrupt criminal activity.

Speaking at the end of the day, Deputy PCC John Smith said: “I was delighted to meet with Owen and the Quantock Hills AONB Unit and hear their concerns about the crimes that affect rural communities.

“I would urge those who live in rural communities to join Farm Watch, Horse Watch or Neighbourhood Watch schemes; by using your knowledge and awareness of what is happening on and around your land, you can help the police to deter criminals.”

To join the schemes, visit