FG investigation reveals rural crime picture in 2012

ACROSS the board, rural crime is on the increase as police fight a never ending battle to stop thieves in their tracks.

Tractors, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other plant and machinery are high on thieves’ hit lists, which police believe is down to the high value of scrap metal.

A total of 38 out of 51 forces responded to our request for information, and follows last year’s exclusive FG investigation in to rural crime.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) estimated the cost of metal theft to the UK economy at more than £750m.

It led MPs to call for tougher laws to crack down on rogue scrap metal dealers, alongside a mass call for a ban on cash payments.

Livestock rustling continues to blight farming operations all over the UK, with figures from rural insurer NFU Mutual showing the cost of thefts across the UK increased by 170 per cent in 2011 over 2010.

More than 67,000 sheep were stolen in the UK in 2011, costing farmers in the region of £6m.

The worst-affected region is currently Northern Ireland, accounting formore than 20 per cent of livestock thefts, followed by North East England, North West England and South West England.

Experts believe sheep are the most common target due to them being relatively easy to steal and transport and the fact the price of lamb is so high.

NFU Mutual’s Tim Price said: “We believe there is a close correlation between the price of commodities and the level of theft. In recent years we have seen thefts ofmetal rocket when scrap prices have been high; thefts of diesel from farm,increases in line with oil price increases, and now the same thing appearsto be happening with livestock.

“An example of meat price rises is the price of lamb chops, which has gone up from 1149p/Kg in June 2008 to 1375p/Kg in June 2012.”

Source: FG

Farmers Guardian's Olivia Midgley speaks with NFU Mutual and NFU vice president Adam Quinney about the increasing threat of rural crime to farm assets.


Rural crime, an overview

Sheep thefts

Hotspot areas:

Staffordshire up from three last year to nine in 2012

Warwickshire up from three to 19

Thames Valley 39 in 2010, 45 in 2011, 156 in 2012

Derbyshire rising steadily from five, to four, to seven this year

Star performers

Avon and Somerset with three thefts last year and zero this year.

Northumbria down from 165 to 60

Cumbria down from 519 sheep stolen to 222

Tractor thefts

Hotspot areas:

Thames Valley up from one last year to 11 this year

Lothian and Borders up from one to seven

Devon from one to four

Leicestershire from zero to five

Lancashire from zero to 6

Star performers:

Hertfordshire down from five to zero

Avon and Somerset down from 3 to zero

Dyfed Powys down from 19 to one

ATV thefts

Hotspot areas:

Essex up ten from three to 23

South Yorkshire up from one to 39

Police Service of Northern Ireland saw thefts rise from five in 2010 to three in 2011 then up to 49 this year

Gwent saw figures climb from 11 to 16 to 54

Thames Valley jumped from five to 29

Star performers:

Nottinghamshire down from seven to one

Tayside saw a sharp decrease from 89 to 7

Red diesel

Hotspot areas:

Norfolk almost saw double, from 23 to 41

Devon and Cornwall up from 10, to nine, to 32 thefts this year

South Yorkshire saw a spike from three in 2010, zero last year and 42 this year

Lothian and Borders increased from five to 10

Star performers:

Greater Manchester down from 30 to 4

Readers' comments (2)

  • This is to be expected in these times and the Government in partly to blame. however the problem will only grow as the public is hit in the pocket more. Facts would also show that Farmers security is lacking. Sadly as is the norm when money is short; '' Security'' suffers first. Good Security costs money! Whilst in reality Farmers hands are tied up by the Police Government and Laws that benefit the crooked.

    There are solutions but this Ex-Consultant has never been asked for them.

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  • Sir, Crime whether it be rural or in the towns will not stop because there is no deterrent whatsoever from our soft court system which seems to be endemic.

    Harsher sentences would send out a message to these criminals, recently there have been two farmers killed who disturbed thieves on there farms.

    If the government will not act they should provide in law that a person can protect him/her self and property by any means necessary, Tony Martin had the right idea he shot one of the thieves dead.

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