PCC cash boost for Combe Valley Warden Service


Friends of Combe Valley have received a £2,000 donation from Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne to help protect the countryside in lockdown and teach young people to treat their rural areas with respect.

The donation is through the PCC’s Safer in Sussex Community Safety fund which was launched in 2013 for initiatives relating to crime reduction and community safety.

Rural crime rose over the first six months of lockdown by 20%, increasing from 429 incidents recorded in January 2020 to 533 in June. Burglary, theft of equipment and fly-tipping were just some of the offences affecting communities.

The Combe Valley is an area of natural beauty and the wardens are dedicated to working with their local Sussex Police rural crime team to protect and look after the wildlife, heritage, environment and safety of the valley. 

Trustee and Warden Service Co-ordinator, David Dennis said: “We are very grateful for the ongoing support by the PCC and for the outstanding help of local Sussex Police PCSOs Lauren Gibertbrown and Daryl Holter and the Rural Crime Team led by Chief Inspector Steve Biglands. The wardens love their work and will continue to care for wildlife, landscape and the education of the public.”

As a result of the donation people living nearby should benefit from: the increased protection against vandalism; the burning of bird hides; the destruction of bat boxes; extensive fly-tipping; destruction of fences; and threats to wildlife habitats.

Part of the funding is also being used to develop information packs for schools describing the wildlife and landscapes that can be seen in the Valley and how they can play their part in protecting it. These packs will be sent out to all the schools in the local areas surrounding the Park, namely Crowhurst, Hollington, Filsham, Bulverhythe, Pebsham and Sidley.

Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne commented: “Over the last year, crime in the Valley has been at a high level and rural crime in general has increased during lockdown.

“I’m pleased to be able to fund the Friends of Combe Valley Wardens who are a great asset to Sussex Police in protecting our beautiful countryside in Sussex.

“This extra funding, together with the contributions that Sussex Police have also made to this service, means that they can expand and invest in better equipment.

“I also fully endorse their commitment to reaching out to young people and getting them interested in our countryside, teaching them how they can take care of it as custodians of the future.”