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Patrols responded quickly to a report of rural theft in Maidstone to recover suspected stolen metal

Officers were called to East Farleigh church around 4.20 a.m. on Monday 20 June 2022, where four men were reported to be loading lead into a vehicle.

Patrols were called to the scene, and a dark green Rover 75 with foreign registration plates was followed to Fullingpits Avenue, where the occupants fled on foot.

The suspects were not found during a search of the area. The vehicle, however, as well as a quantity of lead, was seized.

‘The vigilance of a local resident and the prompt response by one of our patrols ensured the stolen property was recovered,’ said Sergeant Darren Walshaw of Kent Police’s Rural Task Force.

‘We regularly provide crime prevention advice to owners of isolated rural properties that may be targeted by opportunist metal thieves.’ This includes marking the lead for security, installing an alarm and CCTV, and locking the gates that allow access to the venue.

‘Simple measures like securely storing ladders, tools, wheelie bins, and wheelbarrows can also limit access to rooftops and reduce opportunities for stolen metal to be moved from the scene.’

Witnesses who saw anyone acting suspiciously near East Farleigh church at the time of the incident, or the Rover 75 being abandoned in Fullingpits Avenue, are encouraged to call the appeal line if they have not already spoken to police.

Residents with private CCTV and motorists with dashcams are also being asked to look for footage that could help the investigation.

Anyone with information should contact Kent Police at 01622 604100 and reference crime number 46/118998/22.

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111 or filling out the online form on their website.

The Rural Task Force collaborates with a number of partner agencies to address community issues such as burglaries, livestock worrying, and hare-coursing.

More information on rural crime prevention can be found at https://www.kent.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rc/rural-crime/rural-crime-prevention/.