POLICE are cracking down on a huge spate of quad bike thefts across Cumbria.

They have responded to more than 100 incidents and made 11 arrests as part of Operation Lantern - which has seen dedicated patrols, with officers from a specialist team, in areas that have been targeted by criminals.

So far they have recovered eight stolen quad bikes with a number of investigations still to conclude.

Superintendent Sarah Jackson, from Cumbria Police, said: “It’s important our rural communities are vigilant and take steps to protect their property.

“There are many simple security measures that residents can take in order to reduce the risk to their property. Such as ensuring outbuildings are locked and that tools and machinery are kept out of sight when not in use as tools could be used to gain access to surrounding buildings.

"Simply removing keys from machinery and bikes and blocking them in using other large pieces of equipment can make it very difficult for thieves and ultimately act as a deterrent.

“Installing tracking devices to property is also a great security measure, these can help significantly within an investigation to locate the property, as well as markings or data tags so we can identify who the items belong to if found.

“We would like to remind people to remain vigilant to the threat of thefts and burglaries.”

Other advice from the officers is not to leave keys or valuables in farm vehicles and machinery, to always keep gates padlocked shut, use weatherproof padlocks, make sure all tools and valuables are security marked and to place warning signs around properties to deter potential thieves.

Peter McCall, Cumbria's police and crime commissioner, said: “Cumbria is a mostly rural county which means a lot of our properties are isolated and a key target for criminals and organised crime gangs.

“However we also want to encourage the public to further protect themselves from being victimised – I would recommend to all rural communities and businesses to put trackers or smartwater on their devices."

If anyone sees anything suspicious report it via 101 or 101@cumbria.police.uk.

Alternatively ring 0800 783 0137 anonymously.