DEVON and Cornwall Police rural affairs team is asking farmers, landowners and the public to be on alert in rural areas as it experiences an increase in incidents of rural crime across Devon and Cornwall.

It says that during recent weeks there has been an increase in the theft of agricultural precision guidance systems.

Often fitted to tractors and agricultural machinery these devices are frequently stolen due to their high value and portability.

PC Chris Collins, from the Rural Affairs, said: "We would encourage equipment users where possible, to remove items when not in use and to consider property marking options.

"Most recently incidents have occurred in the East, Mid and West Devon areas but previously we have suffered thefts in West Cornwall.

"We have also noted an emerging trend where barns and outbuildings have been targeted and whilst the number of incidents are small we would advise all to ensure that the appropriate security is present on buildings, vehicles and machinery.

"Remain vigilant for suspicious activity and report incidents to the police."

If you can help the police with their inquiries, please telephone 101 or in an emergency, use the 999 number.

Alternatively, use the reporting system (non-emergency) via the force website: .

Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or reporting online at: .