Rural crime costs up 20pc despite 'fortress farms'
Lock your tractor or lose it - the cost of rural theft has risen sharply in the first half of 2017, despite some businesses ‘turning their farmyards into fortresses’, a new report has claimed.
New figures in the UK show a 20pc increase, prompting fears of a new wave of targeted crime in the countryside.
The insurer NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Report tracked a 4pc decrease in costs nationally during 2016, with successful joint initiatives involving several police forces and improved on-farm security playing important roles.
But the £39.2m claims total for 2016 will be outstripped by a substantial margin if the trend for January to June 2017 continues.
It found that being ‘staked out’ is the biggest worry for country people, followed closely by longer police response times in rural areas, according to the leading rural insurer.
“While the fall in rural theft in 2016 is welcome news, the sharp rise in the first half of 2017 is deeply worrying,” said Tim Price, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist.
“Countryside criminals are becoming more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.
“ In some parts of the country, farmers are having to turn their farmyards into fortresses to protect themselves from repeated thieves who are targeting quads, tractors and power tools. They are using tracking devices on tractors, video and infra-red surveillance in their farmyards and even DNA markers to protect sheep from rustlers.”