Cost of rural crime to Northumberland drops

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The cost of rural crime to the Northumberland economy dropped significantly in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to new figures.

The data forms part of NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report, and it shows that the cost to the county last year was £241,000 – a fall of 64 per cent on 2014.

However, rural crime is still an issue in Northumberland and last week, the Gazette reported that £70,000-worth of quad bikes have been stolen from across Northumberland in the last three months alone.

As a region, rural crime cost the North East £7.9milllion in 2015 – the highest in the UK. The items most commonly targeted by thieves across the North East were quad bikes, tools, horseboxes and trailers.

The North East suffered the biggest claims bill for equine-related thefts and tractor thefts, while also seeing a 38 per cent rise in the cost of quad-bike thefts.

Kate Sowden, NFU Mutual senior agent in the North East, said: “Rural thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and using computers rather than bolt-cutters to steal from farms and properties.

“Farmers and police have been working hard to adopt high-tech security measures to tackle the problems which now include cloning tractor identities, advertising non-existent machinery in agricultural publications and stealing the GPS computer systems which are a key part of modern farming.”

The cost of rural crime to the UK economy has reached £42.5million a year. While the North East suffered the highest regional cost, Lincolnshire was the most targeted county.