Rural crime rises across county

Rural crime in Lincolnshire rose last year, making it the second-worst affected county in the UK.

Rural crime cost Lincolnshire more than £2,558,000 last year, making it the second worst affected county in the UK by cost, with a rise of 20.9 per cent from 2017.

In its 2019 Rural Crime Report, rural insurer NFU Mutual looks at the impact that crime is having on rural communities up and down the UK.

The insurer’s claims figures reveal that rural crime cost the UK £50m in 2018, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year and the highest overall cost in seven years. The sharp rises are being driven mainly by high value thefts of tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles – up 26% to £7.4m in 2018.

The items most commonly targeted by thieves across the North East over the last 12 months were tools, ATVs/quads, machinery and fuel.

Miles Baker, NFU Mutual Agent, said: “One of the most alarming findings from this year’s report is that fear of crime is changing life in the countryside. From constant reports of thefts and suspicious vehicles touring the countryside and rural criminals regularly staking out farms, country people feel they are under siege.

“The report further reveals that limited police resources and repeat attacks are the biggest fears for people in rural communities, with many forced to change the way they live and work as a result of rural crime.

“Repeat attacks are causing widespread anxiety and exacerbating the problems of rural isolation amongst farmers who often work alone all day.

“Some farmers are so concerned about the risk of criminal attack they can no longer leave the farm with their family to attend local agricultural shows.

“Farmers are combining modern technology with physical fortifications to try and keep one step ahead of the thieves.

Together with digging ditches and putting up earth banks to prevent criminals getting on to farm land, we’re seeing electronic devices like infra-red beams which send alerts to mobile phones and geo-fencing.”

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