Thursday, 08 August 2013 18:41

Cost of rural crime falls nearly 20%

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Cost of rural crime falls nearly 20%

RURAL theft cost an estimated £42.3m during 2012 across the UK – an annual fall of 19.7%.

Driving this reduction was a significant fall in claim costs for farm machinery - although theft of garden equipment is on the increase.

Tractor and quad bike thefts accounted for more than one third of the cost of theft claims, down 32% and 17% respectively, suggest figures from rural insurer NFU Mutual.

In contrast, 2012 saw a slight increase in NFU Mutual claim levels for livestock theft, but nothing like the three-fold increase experienced the previous year.

The figures, based on claims data, have been released to coincide with the publication of the annual NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey, a nationwide survey of 220 of its rural branch offices.

Unlike other crime reports, the study includes claims for crimes against rural homes, farms, commercial premises and vehicles.

Commenting on rural crime and survey results, NFU Mutual chief claims manager Matthew Scott said: "It's great news that after four years of rises rural crime fell significantly last year.

But country people should not to become complacent, he added. Instead, they should continue to make security a priority on their farms, businesses and homes.

"Rural crime is still taking place at significant levels," said Mr Scott.

"In 2013, while numbers of thefts are slowly declining, we have seen some worrying spikes in high value tractor thefts – and a recent spate of tractor GPS guidance system thefts showing that thieves will steal anything of value from farms."

To date, NFU Mutual has invested more than £400,000 funding police specialist units to coordinate activity on agricultural vehicle crime for the good of the whole industry.

The national estimates reveal that the fall in rural crime was fairly consistent across most regions of the UK during 2012, ranging from -12% in the East of England to -32% in the Midlands.

Only Scotland saw an increase year-on-year (+12%), but this only represented a growth of just over £200,000.

The trend for items most commonly targeted by rural thieves remains largely unchanged with tools, quad bikes and oil/diesel again topping the list.

While figures suggest tractors and metal are less commonly targeted than last year, garden equipment makes a debut in the annual top ten list of targeted items, at number five.

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