NEW weapons to combat rural crime in the shape of new fleet of 4x4 pick-up trucks have been given to police officers.

The new marked Ford Rangers will allow officers to gain better access through rough terrain to help crack down on poaching, fuel thefts and organised crimes.

Each of the east, west and south divisions will be allocated one truck and will have access to a trailer, which can be used to raise the profile of rural policing at community events.

Rural crime officer Nigel Keates said he was excited to put the new vehicles into action.

He said: “It’s going to make an absolutely massive difference.

“Many offenders use 4X4s because of the terrain and previously we have been on the back foot in our regular cars.

“Offenders would simply look at the car which was following them and then decide to take rougher terrain knowing they couldn’t be followed.

“The trucks will have a bed at the back so we can pick up animals and take them to wherever they needed to be taken and not have to wait for the council or another body to pick them up.”

Officers will use the vehicles to investigate crimes and offer reassurance when offences take place at remote locations.

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “This investment to support our teams and the communities that work within the rural areas of Lancashire sends out a real message than Lancashire Constabulary is determined to do its best to serve and reassure all the people who live, work and visit Lancashire.

“We are here to protect them.

“These teams get involved in a whole range of policing activity, from tackling organised crime through to engagement events with young people and the general public.

“They are an invaluable part of the policing effort.”