CONCERNS over rural crime and preparations for the Tour de France have been addressed by North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Julia Mulligan hosted a live webchat this week for residents to highlight their issues about crime in rural areas, ahead of the launch of a new scheme to focus on criminal activity in remote parts of the county.

Mrs Mulligan said: “I think the issue has been a bit of a ‘Cinderella’ problem in the past. Being a farmer’s daughter I’m pleased to see a renewed focus on it. PCCs have also just created the new National Rural Crime Network which is launching at the Great Yorkshire Show next month.”

Responding to concerns over the recent thefts of cattle and sheep in the Craven area spreading across North Yorkshire, Mrs Mulligan said the prompt reporting of thefts or suspicious vehicles was key to ensuring better police response, but further work was being done to try and tackle the illegal sale of meat around the county.

She said: “One of the problems with the sheep rustling is the remote locations of the stock – sometimes it can go and farmers not realise it for a few days after which time it can be difficult to tackle. One of the really important things we can do is join rural farm watch groups as locals reporting strange vehicles and people is invaluable to the police.

“Also the police are working with the slaughter houses to try and prevent the illegal meat getting into the food chain. And if you buy meat that is extremely cheap and its provenance is not known, report it.”

Mrs Mulligan also said the plans for the upcoming Tour de France were “very thorough – although one can never guarantee what might happen”, with support from other police forces meaning a great deal of officers on the streets.