Police advise “Watch where children play this summer”

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Farmer, Kevin Stokes, and Police Constable 1291 David Sharpe stand by the damaged pump.

Police in Leicestershire are asking parents to be mindful of where their children are playing this summer after a farmer, in the rural district of Harborough, suffered criminal damage to his irrigation system which was feeding lake water to his crops worth tens of thousands of pounds.

The advice was issued as part of Leicestershire Police’s Safer Summer campaign, run each year to promote local social engagements at youth clubs and organised local activities, reducing instances of anti-social behaviour in local areas.

Police Constable 1291 David Sharpe part of the Safer Neighbourhood Team within Harborough and the Bowdens said:

“The trespass and criminal damage of the irrigation pump on Mr Stokes’ field is significant in that it threatened his summer crop.

Local police are most concerned about the possibility of young people potentially drowning in the lake which feeds his crops.

PC Sharpe added:

“The problem with swimming unattended in remote lakes and field water is that: if you get into difficulty, there is no one there to help you. The lake bed may also feature unsafe items beneath the water line, such as fallen trees, which can prevent you from leaving the water.”

“I’d encourage parents to ensure they know where their children are at all times and talk to them about the dangers of trespassing on farmland.”

Local farmer, Kevin Stokes sells his produce restaurants and locally via his farm shop.

Whilst the repair to the damage to farm machinery cost a few hundred pounds, if the malfunction had not been caught in time, it could have destroyed an entire crop.

Mr Kevin Stokes of Fardon Fields Farm said:

“The farming community depends on its crops for its livelihood. I appeal to parents locally to consider the consequences and true cost of damaging farm machinery.

“Farmland is not a safe place for children to play. Being around farmland and farm machinery can be dangerous. Please consider the risks of trespassing.”

Anyone with information about crime or anti-social behaviour should call Leicestershire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, which is free* and anonymous, on **0800 555 111.

*Calls to 101 cost 15p for the entire call from both mobile phones and land lines

**Please note some mobile phone service providers may charge for this call

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