The Liberal Democrat candidate for Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner says more needs to be done to tackle rural crime in Cumbria.

Mark Christie's comments came after a survey, conducted last year by the Countryside Alliance, found that one in three people in rural areas have had a crime committed against them in the last 12 months.

The top reported rural crimes were theft of agriculture machinery or equipment (41%) wildlife crime/hare poaching (38%), trespass (34%) and vandalism/arson (28%).

Almost four in ten said they had installed crime prevention measures in the past year due to an increased fear of crime (74%) and being a victim of crime (26%).

The survey also found that:

• 43% of people don’t think the police take rural crime seriously

• 63% of those who reported crimes were dissatisfied with the police response

• 56% of people don’t think rural policing has improved since Police and Crime Commissioners were introduced

Mr Christie said: “Rural crime is a massive issue and has devastating effects on people’s livelihoods and their mental health, but too often people feel like it’s just not taken seriously enough.

“Here in Cumbria we should be looking at places like East Yorkshire where they have just set up a dedicated Rural Crime Unit tasked with responding swiftly to reported crime in rural areas.

“I’m determined to work with local communities to put those practical solutions in place to tackle this problem.”