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The true cost of rural crime in 2020
Despite having to contend with the multitude of other challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, farmers across the UK have continued to battle against rural crime – putting extra pressure on their already strained workload and finances.
Cost of rural crime in 2019/2020
According to insurer, NFU Mutual, rural theft cost the UK £54.3m in 2019 and despite overall thefts reducing in 2020 due to the coronavirus, criminals continue to target those working in the countryside. When lockdown was in full force between March and July, there were significant spikes in crimes such as livestock rustling alongside other non-theft related incidents including increased dog attacks on farm animals and fly-tipping. Another major concern is the theft of costly tractor GPS equipment.
The biggest increase in crime has been seen in Scotland, followed by Northern Ireland and the East of England. England’s three worst affected counties financially were Lincolnshire (£2.8 million), Essex (£2.7 million) and North Yorkshire (£2.2 million).
Organised criminal gangs
Unfortunately, the people targeting farmers aren’t often opportunistic part-time criminals, but instead these crimes are increasingly being committed by organised criminal gangs targeting expensive tractors, quad bikes and livestock. In 2019, agricultural vehicle theft cost the UK £9.3m, quad/ATV theft £3.1m and livestock theft £3m.
Protecting your farm
Here are some things you should consider when finetuning the security for your farm buildings, equipment and livestock.
Safeguard your property
- Consider the physical security of your farm buildings and land including fencing and security gates, including yard entrances
- Ensure that you remove and store keys safely and that you lock away equipment and vehicles when not in use (where possible)
- Use heavy duty locks and specialist devices to lock down equipment and properties
- Keep tractor GPS stored in a secure place
Join a wider community
- Seek out local rural watch groups to join and participate in chats and forums for quick updates on suspicious activity
- Speak to your rural crime police team and report any suspicious activity to them
- Anonymously report crime using Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
Invest in better technology
- Consider fitting inconspicuous tracking devices to vehicles
- Use CCTV and sensor lighting to deter and help capture criminals
- Consider technologies such as geo-fencing and Tec-Tracer
- Mark vehicles with CESAR to deter criminals
Fine tune your insurance
Getting the right insurance for your farm is essential and conducting regular reviews of your cover is equally so. Even if your cover was adequate when you took it out, it may be that you’ve expanded areas of your farm, diversified, invested in new vehicles or made significant changes off the back of the coronavirus and now, it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
At The Insurance Centre, not only do we specialise in finding tailored Farm Insurance solutions for rural businesses, but we also ensure to maintain a long-term relationship with our clients that goes beyond just finding you cover. We will conduct regular reviews as and when you need them and be on hand to provide any advice and support you need along the way. If you need to make a claim, we will be there to fight your corner each step of the way. For a no-obligation review of your existing cover or to source a new policy, just get in touch on 01524 848506.