3 July 2000
Rural crime climbs – but not on farms
By FWi staff
RURAL crime increased last year – but the level of on farm theft dropped as criminals targeted more lucrative rural businesses and homes, says a new report.
The cost of rural crime climbed 6% to 250 million, said insurer NFU Mutual, which released the statistics on the eve of the Royal Show on Sunday (2 July).
But the value of farm equipment and vehicles stolen fell from 93m in 1998 to 82m in 1999, according to the companys latest annual figures.
Farm-related theft in Scotland and Wales fell by 40% to 2.6m and 1.2m a year respectively. But in Northern Ireland, it soared by 40% to 2.1m.
The cost of tractor-related crime rose by 50% as the NFU Mutual reported that gangs were stealing machines to order and exporting them to eastern Europe.
“The downturn in farming incomes means there is less new equipment on farms, said Sid Gibson, NFU Mutual underwriting manager.
“The saleability of stolen farm equipment and livestock has also prompted thieves to consider richer pickings outside farming.”
Mr Gibson said the most worrying statistics were away from the farm.
Burglaries on rural business premises were up by 27% and the total cost of thefts from homes and businesses reached 168m, he added.
Mr Gibson said the true cost of rural crime was higher because the statistics took into account thefts and not arson and other forms of criminal damage.