The recent Rural Crime Report 2020 published by NFU Mutual reports an almost 9% rise in the cost rural crime. The cost is over £54 million.
They report this is the highest cost in eight years of reporting.
The sharp rise has been driven by the theft of high value tractors, farm vehicles and quad bikes. Livestock rustling has also seen an increase.
Agricultural vehicle theft saw an increase of approximately £2million compared to 2018. Livestock theft was valued at £3.0m for 2019. NFU Mutual report separately in their stats the value of Land Rover Defender thefts. This figure now stands at £2.1m.
Geographically the worst affected region in cash terms was the Midlands at £10.6m, however the region with the biggest increase is Scotland at 44.1%. (No explanation for this massive increase is given in the NFU Mutual report)
At a granular level by counties, Wiltshire saw the biggest percentage cost of theft increase year-on-year at 102% where-as along the coast, Kent saw a decrease of 31.3%. Lincolnshire saw the largest cost of theft for a county at £2.8m. (This analysis is based on the 30 worst UK counties).
COVID-19 has taken its toll in the Countryside as we all know, but there have been increased knock on effects by some of the COVID-19 restrictions.
With the increased numbers of walkers in the countryside, farmers reported an increased number of dog attacks on livestock.
Another increase, has been fly-tipping. With local authority recycling centres closed for a period of COVID-19 households and unscrupulous businesses took to using country lanes as dumping grounds.
Reacting to the latest report from NFU Mutual, Louis Bennet, Product Manager at uWatch:
“This latest report makes grim reading. Targeting rural businesses is often seen as an easy crime, given its often remoteness either from other neighbouring properties or Police Patrols.
The stats in this report support the individual feedback that we have heard at uWatch as we have attended both Countryside and Rural Crime Prevention roadshows across the country.
uWatch has partnered with Police Forces across the Country, and have the Secured-by-Design accreditation for our Cube Security Product.
The Cube is well suited to work in the remote environments that Farms and rural properties pose. Battery powered, and not dependent on Wi-Fi, The Cube is a versatile security device.
Whether it’s directly monitoring country lanes observing for fly-tipping, or it’s tethered with blue-tooth tags to monitor gate openings or attached to a vehicle to report a movement. “