POLICE in the Midhurst and Petworth area are still fighting the rural crime wave that is plaguing farmers and landowners.
Thieves have been targeting barns and outbuildings in an escalating problem, stealing tools, equipment, loaders, tractors and quad bikes.
In the latest theft a historic 1964 Massey Ferguson tractor was stolen from land at Graffham between last Monday (February 25) and 1pm on Saturday (March 2).
Farmer Duncan Bryars told the Observer he had even removed the battery as an extra security measure before leaving the grey and red tractor in a barn on land at Brookside Farm, Graffham.
“The thieves cut through the security locks and got through into the barn and either brought a battery with them or winched the tractor onto a loader.”
He said he believed the thieves had used a 4x4 with a loader as tyre marks were still visible in the muddy ground.
Anyone who saw anything suspicious is asked to contact Mr Bryars on 01730 814993 or to call the police, quoting reference number WC3/016817/13 Sussex.
Over the weekend of February 24 and 25, lead and scrap metal were stolen from a house in Easebourne Street, Easebourne. The lead was taken from the roof and scrap metal from an outbuilding (Sussex Police reference 1334 26/02/13).
At Heath Jays, Haslemere, over the same time a cart was stolen from a yard (Sussex police reference 463 25/02/13) and between 6pm on February 28 and 8am on March 1, thieves broke into a vehicle parked in Taylors Field, Midhurst, and stole a chainsaw (Sussex Police reference 252 01/03/13).
A bronze statue of a stag was stolen from the garden of a home on Blackdown at Haslemere between 5pm on February 27 and 7.45am the following day (Sussex Police reference 186 28/02/13).
Thieves broke into a truck parked outside a house in Greatpin Croft at Fittleworth between 10pm on February 22 and 8am the following day, and stole several hand tools including drills and grinders. (Sussex Police reference 379 23/02/13).
And at Bury Gate in Bury thieves broke into a barn and stole two quad bikes – a Yamaha Breeze purple and a Yamaha Big Bear blue quad (Sussex Police reference 613 01/03/13).
Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the areas of these thefts is asked to contact the police immediately on 101, quoting the relevant reference numbers.