Norfolk rural crime soars

Officers have released pictures of a distinctive dirt bike and quad bike that were stolen

during a burglary in Hemel Hempstead.

At around 1.15am on Thursday, June 23, offender(s) gained entry to a garage in Coleridge

Crescent and removed the bike and quad bike, making off in an unknown direction. PNL-160407-104918001
Officers have released pictures of a distinctive dirt bike and quad bike that were stolen during a burglary in Hemel Hempstead. At around 1.15am on Thursday, June 23, offender(s) gained entry to a garage in Coleridge Crescent and removed the bike and quad bike, making off in an unknown direction. PNL-160407-104918001

Rural crime in Norfolk has soared by 39 per cent, according to the latest figures from insurance company NFU Mutual yesterday.

The figures said that there were nearly £1 million in claims in 2015, up from £700,000 the previous year.

This was despite the national picture remaining broadly static.

The figures form part of NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report revealing that the cost of rural crime to the UK economy has now reached £42.5 million a year.

According to the leading rural insurer, the items most commonly targeted by thieves across Norfolk over the last 12 months were farming tools, quad bikes (ATVs) and garden equipment.

Amy Walker, NFU Mutual Agent in Norfolk said: “It is disappointing to see levels of rural crime increasing in Norfolk. Rural thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and using computers rather than bolt cutters to steal from farms and country properties.

“Farmers and police have been working hard to adopt high-tech security measures to tackle the problems which now include: cloning tractor identities, advertising non-existent machinery in agricultural publications and stealing the GPS computer systems which are a key part of modern farming.”

There has been a shift in the items being targeted at rural homes as well; the theft of garden equipment was sited as the biggest growing trend along with 4x4’s.

The majority of NFU Mutual Agent’s surveyed (65 per cent) also reported that thieves in their area are becoming more sophisticated in the way that they operate and cyber crime is also a growing concern amongst their communities.