Huge drop in cost to county of rural crime

The cost of rural crime to businesses in Lancashire fell by more than 40 per cent in a year.
The cost of rural crime to businesses in Lancashire fell by more than 40 per cent in a year.

The cost of rural crime to businesses in Lancashire fell by more than 40 per cent in a year.

New figures, revealed by insurer NFU Mutual, show a dramatic cut in the amount claimed in 2016.

The county remains in the top 10 nationally for rural crime, with the bill estimated well in excess of £1m.

Rural crime cost the county £1,257,110 last year, down from £2,116,695 in the previous 12 months.

Incidents in Lancashire range from stolen farm vehicles - recovered in a crackdown by police - to the theft of cash from an honesty box outside a farm.

Farm owners John and Anne Swale of Joylan Farms, Stanley Farm, Pinfold Land considered packing up their honesty stall in St Michael's after they were repeatedly left out of pocket.

Speaking earlier this year, they said: “We’ve had things stolen several times.

“We put up CCTV but it doesn’t seem to deter people.”

In 2009 Lancashire Police launched Operation Motif in Garstang and Over Wyre to help identify those involved in committing crime in the rural areas.

The rural crime scheme now encompasses the whole of Lancashire and involves a number of agencies. It is funded by Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC)

Rural crime cost North West businesses £2.8m in 2016 with all terrain vehicles, quad bikes, 4x4s and tools top of the list of stolen items.

Amanda Wallbank, NFU Mutual senior agent in the North West, said: “Although the figures for rural crime in the North West are down, countryside criminals continue to become more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.

“The threat of becoming a victim of rural crime, and regular reports of suspicious characters watching farms, is causing high levels of anxiety amongst farmers who know their rural location makes them vulnerable to attacks.

“Our advice to people living and working in the countryside is to regularly evaluate your current security measures and remain vigilant.”