THE community has to “work together” to tackle rural crime, an inspector has said.

The Southern Wiltshire Area Board, which covers areas including Landford, Downton, Alderbury, was told there had been problems with lead thefts and shed burglaries in rural areas.

Inspector Pete Sparrow said: “You need to be taking some proactive stance if you can. Go and have a look in your shed, take serial numbers down, mark up machinery or items in such a way they become less attractive to take.”

The area board, which met last Thursday, was told a meeting had been held in Landford after recent thefts.

Councillor Leo Randall said: “I know the good people of Landford are very proactive and very good on community things and they will get something done. What worries me in part is they will make Landford very secure which will simply just displace the problem to adjacent parishes.”

He asked if the area board could help.

Inspector Sparrow said if communities make their area safer it would discourage thieves who would move to other areas and it would be for “somebody else to then take up the mantel to protect them and themselves”. He added: “It is absolutely key that we work together.”

Councillor Chris Devine asked whether a police car could patrol the rural areas.

He said: “The fact is having regular police patrols down there, having a car that is visible, having somebody come round at two o’clock in the morning and travel the back roads will act as a deterrent, because we are paying an awful lot of money for our policing. I really don’t think it is good enough to say ‘help yourself’ when actually we have got a force out there that could do it for us.”

Inspector Sparrow said: “It is about taking ownership, it’s about actually dealing with your own community and, where forces and powers are needed, that is where you need the police.

“That is the reality of what policing is at the moment and if you think we can put on an additional car to patrol the rural area - where Landford has had 14 crimes this year - then I’m afraid you’re misjudged. Sorry.”

Area board chairman, Councillor Richard Britton: “We are all responsible for community safety. We all have a part to play.”