Police operation to crackdown on Dunmow farm vandalism

PUBLISHED: 16:23 26 November 2014 | UPDATED: 16:23 26 November 2014

Archant

A police investigation has been launched into an ongoing spate of destruction at a farm in Little Dunmow, where land continues to be ravaged by vandals driving over crops and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Last month, the Broadcast revealed there had been a series of crimes on the Grange Lane farm, with thousands of pheasants poached and hundreds killed, as well as theft and criminal damage.

Now, after a number of vandalism incidents in the last few weeks alone, Essex Police have launched Operation Quibble to put a stop to the attacks.

“At the moment they’re causing pain and misery,” said the farm’s gamekeeper, who wished to remain anonymous.

“They just keep driving across the fields. We don’t see anybody as they come at night. We’ll have to see what the results are from the police operation – only time will tell whether the new measures will help.”

Farmer John Kirby, who has run the farm for the past 50 years and lives on the site with his wife and daughter’s family, said he felt “almost helpless.”

“From my point of view things have quietened down a bit since the article, but the gamekeeper has been having more problems,” he said.

Surveillance is difficult to enforce on the 800 acre farm, where crops have systematically been ruined by night-time vandals driving quad bikes over the fields.

Parish councillor Geoff Thomas said the crime in Little Dunmow was not limited to the farm, with “constant” vandalism in the village, after both the Flitch Way sign and the old kissing gate were seriously damaged over the past few weeks.

“It’s still a lovely village, and a great place to live, but there’s too much illegal activity going on, and it does concern people in the village,” he said.

“It’s just somebody showing us they can do what they want.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Essex Police have launched a proactive policing operation to deal with a spate of criminal damage incidents which have taken place at a farm in Little Dunmow.

“High visibility patrols are taking place and the Essex Police Rural Specials team is also targeting the area. Officers are also liaising with local parish councils, Neighbourhood Watch and sharing information with neighbouring police forces.”

Anybody with any information about the incidents is asked to contact the Braintree and Uttlesford Local Policing Team on 101.

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