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Rural crime on the rise

New NFU Mutual survey reveals growing 'agri-crime'


Thieves are targeting rural areas according to NFU Mutual

As riots in London hit the headlines over the weekend, a new survey from NFU Mutual highlights that rural crime is also on the rise.

Criminals are systematically targeting Britain’s farms with a 17% rise in ‘agri-crime’ over the last two years according to new figures from the UK’s leading rural insurer NFU Mutual – a Which? Recommended Provider for home insurance.

Theft to UK agriculture is estimated to have cost £49.7 million in 2010, with two thirds (62%) of branches reporting an increase in rural crime in their area.

The NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey (RCS) is based on the 2010 claims experience of its network of branch offices located in rural towns and villages. 

There is little sign of rural crime slowing as the countryside continues to prove difficult to police and attitudes towards security remain relaxed.

Tools, quad bikes and oil

While thieves have increasingly focused on targeting farms and businesses during broad daylight to steal expensive tractors, heating oil, scrap metal and livestock, the latest Rural Crime Survey shows an emergence of some new trends.

The survey shows that 59% of NFU Mutual branches believe that the most common time of day for thieves to act is during the night (midnight – 6am). 59% also reported that thefts from farms or outbuildings was the biggest problem in their area.

The top ten items targeted by thieves in rural areas are led by tools, quad bikes and oil/diesel. Then come tractors, metal, machinery, trailers, vehicles, personal items and finally, in tenth place, livestock.

There are regional variations. In Cumbria, for instance, the theft of livestock is the second most prevalent form of theft, while people stealing Land Rovers is a particular problem in Derbyshire.

Blight of rural crime

Commenting on the issue of rural crime and successful initiatives, Lindsay Sinclair, chief executive of NFU Mutual, said: ‘Whether it’s the recession, tighter security in towns, or the rise in oil, meat and scrap metal prices countryside people are feeling the blight of rural crime on their land.

‘However, country people are not taking this scourge lying down. Across the country new rural security initiatives are springing up involving rural communities and insurers such as NFU Mutual.

‘We’ve already seen that by working with the police forces and manufacturers, tractor theft and organised rural crime can be tackled head-on. A united front against crime in the countryside will help to protect communities from being targeted further with vigilance as the watchword.’

  • To make sure that you’ve the best insurance for your needs, whether you live in the country or in the city, check out our home insurance guide.
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