A FARMERS' union has spoken out about a spate of reported burglaries from farm outbuildings.

The National Farmers’ Union, which has branches across the country, said it was meeting with police forces across Cleveland and North Yorkshire.

The union said it was aware of thieves targeting the farming community and taking equipment.

Over several weeks, there have been dozens of reported burglaries from farm outbuildings in rural Yorkshire.

In the Hambleton district alone, there have been reports of burglaries from farms in Kirby Sigston, Ingleby Arncliffe, Crathorne, Nether Silton and Great Ayton.

Some of the items reportedly taken from outbuildings include quad bikes, general farming equipment, power tools and in one instance, a power washer.

One North Yorkshire farmer, who did not want to be named, said: “Everyone is just waiting for it to be them – we know what these people are after and do our best to secure all our equipment, but it doesn’t seem to stop them.”

Most recently, on Friday, January 11 another theft from an outbuilding on a Kirby Sigston farm was reported to police.

Laurie Norris of the National Farmers’ Union said: “We are very much aware that thieves are targeting the farming community, in particular looking to steal quad bikes and other farm machinery.

“We are are meeting regularly with North Yorkshire and Cleveland Police to see what can be done and to emphasise the importance of these vehicles as the workhorses for many farm businesses.

“The police have assured us that they are taking the problem seriously and that they are working together to tackle cross-border criminal activity – our farmer members feel very vulnerable, with so many thefts now being reported, and of course suffer the consequences of losing their machinery.

“As a result, it is particularly important that they look at their on-farm crime prevention measures and work with the police to make sure their security is as tight as possible.

“It’s also vital that all thefts are reported – to encourage farmers and member of the public to pass on any intelligence.”

Anyone with information is advised to contact the rural crime reporting line on 0800-783-0137 or online at www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk.