A LEADING countryside group is warning farmers and rural landowners in East Lancashire to review their security to reduce thefts of equipment and vehicles from farms.

CLA North regional director Dorothy Fairburn said that a combination of dark nights and economic uncertainty was causing an increase in rural crime.

She said: “At this time of year, with its short days and long nights, there is always an increase in countryside crime.

“We are already starting to see a swell of rural criminal offences such as theft and fly-tipping.”

The CLA has issued advice such as not leaving tools lying around, ensuring keys are removed from vehicles and that sheds and other outbuildings are properly secured.

Rural residents off the mains gas supply grid who use heating oil are also being urged to protect their oil supplies by installing locks on vent caps.