THE founder of the longest-running Farmwatch in the country is encouraging other landowners and farmers to join their local scheme.

After setting up Teesdale and Weardale Farmwatch 23 years ago, Peter Stubbs and his wife, Gladys, now have more than 850 volunteer members who report incidents and suspicious behaviour on their land to the police.

Their scheme was crowned Best Community Scheme at the Country Crime Fighters Awards run by rural insurers, NFU Mutual, earlier this year and has been replicated across the country by farmers and police.

Mr and Mrs Stubbs, both 71, who are based at Brown Jug Farm in Kinninvie, near Barnard Castle, use a “ringround” system to alert other members across the region to suspicious activity, as well as going out on nighttime patrols with local police.

“We were fed up of crime happening on our land, so we got about 20 of our neighbours to look out for each other and report suspicious behaviour,” said Mr Stubbs.

“Now we have more than 850 members and are known as the best Farmwatch in the country. A lot of people have said being part of Farmwatch has helped them to feel safer and to stop crime happening on their land.

“We would encourage any farmers who are worried about rural crime to join their nearest Farmwatch scheme as farmers need to come together to look out for each other.”

To find out more about Farmwatch visit