Rural crime wave exposed in snapshot survey

More than half of farmers have been targeted by rural criminals over the past 12 months, according to a survey by NFU Mutual.

The survey, Farming Snapshot: How rural crime affects you, found 56% of farmers said they had been a victim of rural crime over the past year.

And 47% of farmers who responded said they had been a victim of crime more than once in that period.


See also: Police team up with farmers to fight rural crime in Yorkshire 

The survey found that thieves are targeting a whole range of items to steal from farms, including:

  • Quad bikes
  • Tools
  • Electric fencing equipment
  • Fuel
  • Fencing

Thirty percent of farmers rated their concerns about rural crime as five out of five (the highest level).

But farmers are actively tackling the problem head on; 77% said they had taken steps to protect their farm against rural crime.

Crime-fighting steps

Only 12% of larger farmers surveyed – those farming 50ha or above – said they had not taken any extra steps to combat rural crime. However, 100% of small farmers – 1-5ha – said they had taken extra steps to protect themselves.

This included:

  • Installing CCTV
  • Heavy duty gates/locks
  • Joining a Farm Watch scheme
  • Marking tools and equipment with Smartwater, Datatag or similar
  • Installing more lighting

A total of 64 farmers from a range of farm sizes and sectors were interviewed for the survey to find out how rural crime is affecting the custodians of our land.

Last month, NFU Mutual urged farmers to beef up security to protect their farm machinery following a sharp rise in theft claims.

The insurer’s rural crime claims data revealed the cost of farm theft claims doubled in March compared with the same month in 2016 to more than £800,000.

NFU Mutual is due to release its annual survey on rural crime in August.

See more