Rural crime costs the county more each year

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 August 2014

Archant

CRIME in rural Somerset is up about nine per cent on last year according to the leading farm insurance company.

Although the cost of rural crime is decreasing in the South West – going from £5.6million last year to £5.5million this year – it is increasing in Somerset.

Rural crime cost the county’s economy an estimated £1.2million in 2013, nine per cent more than the previous year.

The police have started a number of schemes to try to tackle the problem, such as launching the new Rural Crime Team in May this year.

More than 75 farms in the region are also part of Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Farm Watch scheme, an initiative designed to encourage communication among farms and countryside communities.

NFU Mutual, the National Farmers’ Union Mutual Insurance Society, surveyed agents across the county and found the top three things most often targeted by thieves in the past 12 months were tools, quad bikes and garden equipment.

An NFU Mutual spokesman said these items might have been targeted because they are portable and have a high retail value.

The leading rural insurer’s annual rural crime survey shows the nationwide cost of rural crime totalled an estimated £44.5million in 2013 – a rise of 5.2 per cent.

A spokesman for the Somerset branch of NFU Mutual said: “The stealing of garden equipment shows that homes are targeted as well as businesses by opportunistic thieves.”

He said more than half of staff, interviewed from hundreds of NFU Mutual offices around the UK, had seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen.

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