Rural crime costs North East economy more than £800k

Northumbria Police have run operations to tackle and target travelling criminals
Northumbria Police have run operations to tackle and target travelling criminals

The cost of rural crime in the North East rose by 12 per cent last year – costing the regional economy an estimated £840,000, according to figures released today.

Rural crime in Northumberland and County Durham cost around £840,000, up from £750,000 in 2012, with quad bikes, metal and horse equipment the most-targeted items.

The figures are part of a UK-wide survey by NFU Mutual. The 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.

More than half of staff interviewed from hundreds of NFU Mutual offices in rural communities around the UK also said they’d seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen.

Although high-value thefts may be planned and highly organised, the number of stolen garden tools and ornaments indicates opportunist thieves continue to target gardens and outbuildings.

Cath Reed, NFU Mutual agent in Hexham, said: “The cost of claims is increasing as a result of more high-value items being stolen. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant and fight rural crime. Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of the North East clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback – it can be devastating for businesses and families.

“One of the rural community’s best assets is its people who can work together to safeguard the local neighbourhood. That is why NFU Mutual organises the Country Crime Fighters Awards, a nationwide competition to support and encourage fantastic examples of crime prevention taking place in the countryside. You can enter or nominate someone on our website.”

For more information, visit the insurers’ rural crime website.