Rural crime in Norfolk cost victims £680,000 last year
Rural crime cost Norfolk more than £680,000 last year, and while this is a fall of 25 per cent from £906,868 in 2016, problems still remain.
The figures are part of the NFU (National Farmers Union) Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report, published yesterday, revealing that the UK saw a 13.4 per cent rise in the cost of rural crime last year.
The items most commonly targeted by thieves across Norfolk over the last 12 months were machinery, tools and oil or diesel.
Amy Walker, NFU Mutual senior agent in Norfolk, said: “Countryside criminals continue to become more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.”
The report reveals that in some parts of the county, farmers are being forced to combine medieval methods with high-tech security to combat modern-day crime.
Earth banks, dry ditches, stockade fences and high-security single access points are helping fortify their farms against criminals who use 4x4vehicles to get onto farmland to commit crimes and evade police.
“Adapting centuries-old security with high-tech solutions is already proving successful in keeping at bay thieves who don’t fear being caught on camera and have the skills to overcome electronic security systems,” Ms Walker said.
The report also reveals that limited police resources and repeat attacks are the biggest fears for people in rural communities, with many forced to change the way they live and work as a result of rural crime.
Ms Walker 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.”
NFU Mutual said it has invested more than £1.2 million to tackle rural crime.
To read the full report, visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime.