Agri-crime on increase

NEW figures from the UK’s leading rural insurer NFU Mutual, reveal that the rise in theft to agriculture in Lincolnshire and the Midlands is estimated to have cost £9.7 million in 2010.

This reflects a nationwide trend where almost two thirds (62 per cent) of NFU Mutual branches reported an increase in rural crime in their area.

While nationally, thieves have targeted expensive tractors, heating oil, scrap metal and livestock, the theft of fuel such as domestic heating oil and farm diesel topped the list of items targeted by rural criminals in Lincolnshire.

Power tools such as chainsaws, lawnmowers and jet-washers were second followed by tractors.

The NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey is based on the 2010 claims experience of its network of branch offices located in rural towns and villages. Unlike some other crime reports, NFU Mutual’s survey includes claims for crimes against homes, farms, commercial premises and vehicles.

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

When asked about the main reason thieves target the countryside, 41 per cent of branches said the fact it was such a sparse area made it difficult to police, with 32 per cent claiming there was less chance of thieves being seen. 23 per cent thought relaxed attitudes towards to security measures could also be a factor.

THe survey showed 59 per cent of NFU Mutual branches believe that the most common time of day for thieves to act is during the night (midnight – 6am). 59 per cent also reported that thefts from farms or outbuildings was the biggest problem in their area, while 12 per cent said garden sheds and garages have proven tempting for thieves.