11:43AM, Friday 05 August 2022
The cost of rural crime in Berkshire rose by 47 per cent in 2021, figures from an insurance company have revealed.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual published its 2022 Rural Crime Report on Tuesday, which noted that rural theft had cost the county an estimated £407,000 in 2021. This increase was also against the national trend as 2021 rural crime costs across the UK fell by 9.3 per cent.
The South East was the second worst affected region in 2021, with costs totalling £7.5million. Only the Midlands was worse hit.
Well-organised criminals have continued to target farmyards by stealing high-value farm machinery and vehicles.
Soaring food prices could mean that theft of livestock now increases.
Tigi Singhateh, agent at NFU Mutual in Reading, said: “Our latest claims figures warn that rural theft is quickly gathering momentum as criminals make up for time lost over the past two pandemic years. We’re advising rural people to review their security, to help prevent crime and disruption.
“With prices of essential farm equipment such as tractors and quads rising fast and the cost of diesel soaring over the past year, there’s little doubt that criminals will be trying to steal from farms.
“Crime in the countryside causes high levels of anxiety and disruption, with many farmers and rural homeowners feeling vulnerable due to their isolated location. The knowledge that determined thieves are scouring the countryside looking for targets, and returning to carry out night-time raids, leads to sleepless nights for many in remote areas.”