Fighting the tide of rural crime in Lincolnshire

A snapshot of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
A snapshot of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

There was a time when farmers used to prop up the bar in their local and complain until the cows came home about the weather and falling livestock prices.

Eavesdrop those same conversations today and it’s a fair bet you’ll hear one word more than most - crime.

Latest figures released by the NFU show rural crime cost Lincolnshire more than £2.1m in 2017.

That was a fall of 15.3% from nearly £2.5 the previous year.

Nevertheless, the cost of rural crime in Lincolnshire is higher than anywhere else in the county.

One local farmer - who did not want to be named - says the figures do not tell the full story.

He says: “I don’t know of many farms around here that haven’t had at least one break-in and something stolen.

“The bigger items are reported but a lot of farmers don’t bother with smaller stuff.

“The police do their best...there’s just not enough of them.”

The NFU report reveals farmers are being forced to combine medieval methods with high-tech security to combat modern-day crime.

Earth banks, dry ditches, stockade fences and high-security single access points are helping fortify farms against criminals who use 4x4 vehicles to get onto farm land to commit crimes and evade police.

It might smack of desperation but it is all too understable when liveliehoods are at stake.

Criminals, though, are becoming evenincreasingly brazen.

Items most commonly targeted by thieves in Lincolnshire were tools, quad bikes, all-terrain vehicles and personal effects.

The report reveals limited police resources and repeat attacks are the biggest fears for people in rural communities.

It is not just farmers but whole rural communities that are under threat.

Ominously, many people say they have been forced to change the way they live and work as a result of rural crime.

Andrew Brown, NFU Mutual Senior Agent in Lincolnshire, said: “The threat of becoming a victim of rural crime, and regular reports of suspicious characters watching farms is causing high levels of anxiety amongst farmers who know their rural location makes them vulnerable to attacks.”