Hertfordshire gamekeeper and rural special constable has appealed for more keepers and shooters to get involved with volunteer police work in an effort to keep their local areas safe.

Richard Downs, 46, is a gamekeeper with the Holtsmere End shoot near Redbourn, and puts his expert knowledge of rural life to use when he joins Hertfordshire Constabulary?s Safer Neighbourhoods Team for patrols of his local countryside.

He said: ?Through my role, I regularly liaise with landowners and farmers, and I can find myself involved in everything from patrolling country lanes, keeping an eye out for speeding drivers and dealing with fly-tipping, to tackling poaching and helping to deal with injured livestock and wildlife.?

?I believe gamekeepers, farmers and anyone with an interest in wildlife and rural issues can make a valuable contribution to Hertfordshire Constabulary as a rural special.?

?If you would like to make a difference in your community and you really care about rural areas, I?d recommend it.?

Rural special constables have full police powers, uniform and protective equipment, and work alongside the regular force.

Some patrol their local areas on horseback using their own horses, or on an ATV or quad bike.

SC Downs recently arrested a 20-year-old man on suspicion of stealing red diesel.

The man is due to return on bail to Watford Police Station next month pending further enquiries.

?Red diesel theft is just the sort of rural issue I can help tackle through being a rural special,? he said.

?It?s very satisfying knowing results such as this make a difference.?

Visit www.herts.police.uk/specials to find out more.

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