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The annual cost of rural crime hits £800 million in 2015

Date: 31 May 2016

TRACKER, the UK’s leading stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) is urging farmers to better protect their assets, as new figures reveal a frightening picture of rural crime levels across the UK. The National Rural Crime Network (NRCN), a coalition of Police and Crime Commissioners, recently estimated that the annual cost of rural crime in England & Wales stood at £800 million. At around the same time, NFU Mutual, the country’s leading rural crime insurer, announced that it had paid out more than £32.8 million in claims.  
 
According to the NFU Mutual’s latest figures, Essex is the biggest target for criminals, with claims hitting £2.4 million in 2015. Kent is close behind on £2.2 million, with Gloucestershire and North Yorkshire just inside the top 10 counties on £1 million worth of rural crime claims. Following this pattern, the Metropolitan Police’s Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU), confirms the vulnerability of the South East as a top region for agricultural thefts, with 149 crimes recorded April to June 2015, whilst Wales is one of the lowest, with just 30 thefts.
 
“Essex and Kent’s proximity to the major ports means highly organised criminal gangs are able to ship abroad stolen agricultural machinery and quad bikes, feeding global demand for black market equipment by the farming and building sectors,” explains Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison for TRACKER. “Additionally, their proximity to urban areas has always made them vulnerable to opportunist ‘townie’ thieves using small goods vehicles to steal quad bikes and smaller items of plant machinery such as mini tractors and trailers.”
 
Whilst Scotland witnessed an overall decrease in rural crime last year, figures show that some of its rural communities, particularly those closest to urban areas, have been hotspots for criminals.  Midlothian, Ayrshire, Inverness-shire, Fife and Dumbartonshire all saw year-on-year increases in crime, together with Perthshire, Clackmannanshire and Banffshire.  There is also evidence to suggest that this stolen farm equipment is ending up in sealed containers at major Scottish ports, such as Grangemouth and Cairnryan, and then being shipped overseas.
 
Continues Andy Barrs, “TRACKER works closely with all UK police forces to recover stolen vehicles, however the experience of our customers nationally is that very little will stand in the way of determined thieves and, if they really want to steal a high value quad or tractor they will take it. And that’s why stolen vehicle recovery technology is the best way for farmers to protect their assets.
 
“Working in partnership with NFU Mutual and Datatag, TRACKER currently offers farmers significant reductions on NFU Mutual policies of up to 25%. We urge farmers and rural businesses to protect their machinery now and help police close the net on the criminals.”
 
TRACKER is the largest and most established stolen vehicle recovery business in the UK, with over 1.2 million tracking devices currently deployed. TRACKER is also the only company that installs its police detection computers in every UK police force, including Northern Ireland. Unlike other devices, TRACKER’s unique VHF technology is able to locate stolen machinery an equipment anywhere, even when they are hidden in a garage, container or underground car park.
 
NFU Mutual’s top 10 worse affected counties for rural crime claims:
Essex £2.4M
Kent £2.2M
Lincolnshire £1.8M
Hampshire £1.7M
Cambridgeshire £1.7M
Lancashire £1.4M
Somerset £1.1M
Suffolk £1.1M
North Yorkshire £1M
Gloucestershire £1M
 
Metropolitan Police’s Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU) - agricultural thefts by region (Apr-Jun 2015)
1 SOUTH EAST 149
2 YORKSHIRE & NE 101
3 EAST MIDS & ANGLIA  59
4 SOUTH WEST 56
5 NORTH WEST 53
6 MIDLANDS 51
7 SCOTLAND & NI 25
8 WALES 30
9 BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE & MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 6

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