BY NICK PEARCE
Rural crime has been estimated to cost the UK £39m, with many farmers feeling “under siege” from thieves. Transport links also mean thieves can steal machinery and move it into mainland Europe in “a matter of hours”. Lincolnshire was the worst-hit English county with a cost of £2.5m, according to a report by NFU Mutual.
Cost of UK rural crime in 2016:
- England £33.8m
- Northern Ireland £2.5m
- Scotland £1.6m
- Wales £1.3m
Source NFU Mutual 2017
Agricultural vehicle theft at £5.4m was the same as in 2015 – and down from £10m in 2010 – but costs from the theft of Land Rover Defenders since they are no longer in production have risen by almost 17% from £1.8m to £2.1m between 2015 and 2016.
Overall, tools were the top item stolen from farms in 2016 followed by Quad vehicles. Livestock theft including sheep rustling cost £2.2m in 2016, down from £2.9m the year before.
Lincolnshire was the only county where the cost of rural crime in 2016 exceeded £2.5m. Crime claims cost more than £1m in 11 English counties: Lincolnshire, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Kent, West Yorkshire, Somerset, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, Worcestershire, Derbyshire.
The annual rural crime report was based on claims data from more than 300 NFU Mutual branches.
The cost of UK rural crime over five years has remained fairly steady at between 37.8M and £44M per annum:
- 2012 £41.9m
- 2013 £44m
- 2014 £37.8m
- 2015 £41m
- 2016 £39.2m