Thieves are targeting farms in Dorset as they are “a soft touch”, according to the county’s rural crime police chief.
Crimes against the farming community, including theft of metal and heating oil have risen 40% in Dorchester and Sherborne, to 198 incidents so far this year.
Machinery, quad bikes, sheep and fuel have also been stolen in farm raids.
As a result, Dorset Police is urging farmers to be more security conscious and vigilant.
Inspector Les Fry, head of Operation Countryside, said: “Times are changing and criminals are now travelling further and exploiting the rural parts of Dorset.
“It’s getting harder to steal in urban areas as there’s more crime prevention so criminals are turning their attentions to rural areas.
“We want the rural community to make it harder for criminals to commit crime.”
Farmers have also been warned of arson attacks to barns after there were 16 barn fires between 1 April and 18 October, compared with six during the same time period last year.