£760,000 cost of crime

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Thieves targeting farm tools and vehicles in rural areas are costing the county £760,000 a year - new figures reveal.

NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report has revealed that rural crime cost Derbyshire £760,000 in 2015 - slightly down on the previous year’s figure.

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

Across the Midlands as a whole the cost of rural crime in 2015 was £6.6million - an increase by ten per cent on the previous year.

Grant Hattle, NFU Mutual senior agent in Derbyshire 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 4x4s.

Grant continued: “However, it is reassuring to see levels of rural crime falling in Derbyshire, and 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 Grant.

For further information and advice on how to beat rural crime in your area visit the NFU Mutual website www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime