What is Forest Watch?
Forest Watch (a forest version of Neighbourhood Watch) is a scheme set up in South Wales to encourage members of the public to report incidents of crime and suspicious activity on Forestry Commission Wales land. Its membership is community members who enjoy the forest and who are fed up of the crime that they see.
We are working together to reduce crime
In 2007 Coed y Cymoedd Forest District became the first in Forestry Commission Wales to appoint a forest crime officer. Sergeant 3753 Andrew Scourfield took up post, on a secondment from South Wales Police, to help combat the various criminal activities undertaken within the Welsh Government Woodland Estate.
Andrew’s approach in ensuring the success of this initiative is to gather as much information and intelligence as he can by working closely with community members. He also works with other agencies and organisations, including the Environment Agency and Local Authorities, to track down and prosecute offenders.
To date the results have been encouraging
"We have seen a noticeable decline in forest crime and an increase in prosecutions over the past five years. The South Wales forest is becoming a much safer environment for people. I want the criminals to know the forests are no longer a safe haven for them." (Andrew Scourfield)
Forest Watch success rewarded
In 2010, Forest Watch was awarded the 'Neath Port Talbot Environment Forum’s Green Public Sector Department of the Year Award' and was a runner up in the 'Action for Wildlife Award'. Forest Watch has also been adopted by the North Wales Police and the Hampshire Police to help reduce crime in England’s New Forest.
Top ten criminal or anti-social behaviour within the Welsh government woodland estate:
• Off-road trespass (motorcycles and 4x4s)
• Criminal damage (to gates, fences, etc.)
• Auto crime (abandoned vehicles)
• Drug dealers (hiding drug stashes)
• Organised deer poaching
• Theft from contractor vehicles
• Car park theft
• Sexual activity sites
• Arson (especially late spring - early summer)
If you would like to become a member of Forest Watch please complete the following form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to the address below.
Forest Watch Application Form (MSWord, 386Kb)
Forest Watch Information Note (PDF, 53Kb)
If you want to know more about Forest Watch, have any information or require advice or assistance regarding forest crime; please contact:
Sergeant Andrew Scourfield
Forest Crime Officer
Coed Y Cymoedd
Tel: 0300 068 0229