Rural crime costs £1mil

Thieves targeting rural machinery and vehicles are costing the county more than £1million a year - new figures reveal.

NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report has revealed that rural crime cost Nottinghamshire just over £1million in 2015 - roughly the same figure as the year before.

Machinery, 4x4s and quad bikes are top of thieves shopping list according to the report, which reveals that rural crime costs the UK economy £42.5million a year.

Andrew Smith, NFU Mutual senior agent in Nottinghamshire, said: “Rural thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and using computers rather than bolt cutters to steal from farms and country properties.

“Farmers and police have been working hard to adopt high-tech security measures to tackle the problems which now include cloning tractor identities, advertising non-existent machinery in agricultural publications and stealing the GPS computer systems which are a key part of modern farming.”

There has been a shift in the items being targeted at rural homes as well - in the latest survey of NFU Mutual’s agency network, the theft of garden equipment was sited as the biggest growing trend along with 4x4’s.

Andrew continued: “However, it is reassuring to see levels of rural crime not rising in the county – this reflects the huge efforts being made by anti crime schemes throughout the countryside.”

The majority of NFU Mutual Agent’s surveyed (65 per cent) also reported that thieves in their area are becoming more sophisticated in the way that they operate and cyber crime is also a growing concern amongst their communities.

The survey also revealed that social media is now the main resource for sharing information about crime in rural communities and is a valuable tool – not only in the prevention of rural crime but also for catching criminals and returning stolen goods.

“Our advice to people living and working in the countryside remains the same - evaluate your current security measures making improvements where necessary, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the local police but also community watch schemes,” concluded Andrew.