DARKER nights and economic uncertainty are a recipe for an increase in rural crime, business leaders have warned.
October and November are statistically the two months in the year where police receive more reports of burglaries than any other time, according to the Country Land and Business Association.
CLA eastern region director Nicola Currie said: "Each year we seem to experience an increase in crime in the countryside almost as soon as the clocks go back.
"This winter, with more people already struggling to pay their bills and now facing higher heating costs, experience sadly suggests that we could see a bigger increase than usual.
Rural areas presented the greatest opportunity for thieves, said Mrs Currie.
Isolated houses and buildings, less lighting, fewer witnesses and the ease of being able to watch the owner's movements all added up to a very attractive target for thieves.
"Simply being aware is not enough, and neither is just relying on the farm dog. Protecting your property need not be complicated, but does need to be effective."
Tools and equipment should never be left lying unprotected, and ignition keys should never be left in vehicles, Mrs Currie said.
Installing security lights can be an effective deterrent as thieves can see them and know their presence will be picked up.
"We have members who have made excellent use of small, motion sensitive cameras that are sold for monitoring bird boxes and are available on the internet.
"If you do spot a vehicle on your property the most important thing to do is to get the registration number and call 999 if a crime is in progress, or 101 to report an intruder.
"With modern technology, the registration number is the key piece of information the police require – but it needs to be reported to them immediately to be most effective."
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