Judge Paul Batty QC has added to the growing number of calls for rural crime to be taken more seriously after he heard the trial of four men accused of stealing a mini tractor worth £2,000. At Carlisle Crown Court Judge Batty insisted that a statement from the farmer should be read to the court, even though the prosecuting barrister had not intended to do so.
"The jury should be told of the effect it had," said the judge. "Rural crime is often dismissed as if it is just this, that or the other."
Barrister Nick Kennedy then read out the whole statement by Cumbrian farmer David Knipe, of Tebay, whose tractor was allegedly taken by members of a criminal gang who conspired to target remote properties in the county.