Rural crime cost the country £1.3m last year with ATVs and quad bikes, tools and livestock at the top of thieves’ wish-lists.
The figure is down almost 8% from £1.5m in 2015 and forms part of NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report which reveals that despite the drop last year, the cost of rural theft has risen sharply in the first half of 2017.
According to NFU Mutual’s 2017 Rural Crime Report, early theft claims statistics for the first half of this year show a sharp rise of over 20%, raising concerns that a new wave of rural crime is hitting the countryside.
Ironically the report was published in the week that the Abergavenny office of NFU Mutual itself fell victim to a break-in.
Aled Jones, of NFU Mutual said, ‘Although the figures for rural crime in Wales are down, countryside criminals continue to become more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.
‘In some parts of the country, farmers are having to turn their farmyards into fortresses to protect themselves from repeated thieves who are targeting quads, tractors and power tools. They are using tracking devices on tractors, video and infra-red surveillance in their farm yards and even DNA markers to protect sheep from rustlers’.
The report reveals that being ‘staked out’ is the biggest worry for country people, followed closely by longer police response times in rural areas.
Aled Jones added, ‘The threat of becoming a victim of rural crime, and regular reports of suspicious characters watching farms is causing high levels of anxiety amongst farmers who know their rural location makes them vulnerable to attacks.
‘Our advice to people living and working in the countryside is to regularly evaluate your current security measures making improvements where necessary, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the local police and local farm watch schemes’.