A recent survey has found that 31 per cent of farmers experienced at least one crime in 2020, with the most prevalent being theft of tools, equipment and machinery, and suffered an average loss of £4,473. This type of theft was followed by farm animals, which is estimated to have cost the industry around £2.3 million.
According to the survey, around 60 per cent of the farmers polled felt that rural crime in their area has increased over the last year, even with lockdown making it more difficult for criminals to remain undetected.
Industry leaders are concerned that, as movement restrictions ease, there could be a resurgence in criminal activity. Therefore, they are urging farmers to remain vigilant and check their tools, equipment and stock regularly.
One area experiencing high levels of rural crime is East Anglia, where TV chef Jamie Oliver recently had a tractor stolen. This location is particularly favoured by thieves who have access to nearby docks, such as Felixstowe – meaning they can ship the stolen goods to places where the demand for such equipment is high.
Although it is relatively rare for tractors to be stolen, popular targets for thieves are quad bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) used on farms as they have basic onboard tech. Plus, they are a compact size to transport in a shipping container and are often not registered for road use, making them more difficult to identify.
However, farmers can protect their assets by blocking field entrances, digging ditches around fields, upgrading building security and installing CCTV. They can also fit tracking units to such equipment, which while it won’t necessarily stop the vehicle or equipment from being stolen, will significantly increase the prospect of successful recovery and return to the rightful owner.
For more information or advice on related matters, please contact our experts at Smailes Goldie today.