Cambridgeshire rural crime costs farmers £1.7 million

Tractor thefts and other rural crimes cost Cambridgeshire more than £1.7m last year, new figures reveal.

Monday, 5th August 2019, 7:00 am
This tractor was damaged and had its wheels stolen

The 2019 Rural Crime Report, lead by rural insurer NFU Mutual was published today (August 5) and shows the severe effect that crime is having on rural communities around the UK.

Its figures reveal that rural crime cost the UK £50 million in 2018, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year. It is the highest overall cost in seven years.

The drastic increase occurred after a spike in high value thefts of tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles - up 26 per cent to £7.4 million in 2018.

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CCTV has become a favoured technique by farmers to deter criminals

In Cambridgeshire - the fifth most affected county in the UK - the figure rose by 0.3 per cent compared to 2017.

The most commonly targeted items over the last 12 months were garden equipment and machinery.

Catherine Little, NFU Mutual Agent in Greater Peterborough, said: “One of the most alarming findings from this year’s report is that fear of crime is changing life in the countryside. The report reveals that limited police resources and repeat attacks are the biggest fears for people in rural communities, with many forced to change the way they live and work as a result of rural crime.

“Farmers are combining modern technology with physical fortifications to try and keep one step ahead of the thieves. Together with digging ditches and putting up earth banks to prevent criminals getting on to farm land, we’re seeing electronic devices like infra-red beams which send alerts to mobile phones and geo-fencing, which triggers an alarm if tractors go beyond farm boundaries. These technologies are proving to be effective weapons in the fight against rural crime.”

Catherine added: “Our advice to people living and working in the countryside is to regularly evaluate your current security measures making improvements where necessary, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the local police and local Countryside watch schemes.

“The good news is that security technology is developing fast and we’re already clearly seeing that thieves avoid tractors fitted with good security kit and sheep that have been marked with microdots.”

As the main insurer of the countryside, NFU Mutual has responded to its members’ concerns and has invested more than £1.5 million to tackle the menace of rural crime.

For more information and advice on how to beat rural crime in your area download the report at www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime