Rural crime costs gather pace despite 54 per cent drop in Cambs

Quad bike in agricultural field in UK

Insurers have warned that rural theft in Cambridgeshire is “quickly gathering momentum”, despite a drop of over 50 per cent in crime costs in 2021 compared to two years ago. - Credit: NFU Mutual

Insurers have warned that rural theft in Cambridgeshire is “quickly gathering momentum”, despite a drop of over 50 per cent in crime costs. 

A report from NFU Mutual found that rural crime in the county cost around £940,000 last year, falling 54pc from 2020. 

But early indications for the first quarter of this year show costs across the UK, including the East of England, are over 40pc higher than the same period 12 months before. 

James Godfrey, senior partner at NFU Mutual Ely and Wisbech, 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.” 

Rural theft costs in the East of England were £5.1m last year compared to £6.6m two years ago, the report found. 

The hike in rural crime costs comes after a UK-wide drop of 9.3pc to £40.5 million last year. 

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In 2021, agricultural vehicle theft across the UK including high-value farm machinery cost over £9m. 

Thieves also targeted Land Rover Defender vehicles as the value of second-hand cars and replacement parts rose, with the cost of claims shooting up by 87pc to £2.6m nationally. 

Last year, NFU Mutual invested £430,000 in rural crime initiatives, such as for an agricultural vehicle theft unit at the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service which recovered stolen vehicles and farm machinery worth £2.6m. 

Mr Godfrey believes that each farm or home needs a different approach to tackle crime by using different measures. 

“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,” he said. 

“There’s an armoury of measures to help do so from traditional fortification, to technology using movement sensors, to community information networks.” 

Mr Godfrey added: “NFU Mutual is responding by helping those living and working in rural areas to put in place effective security measures and by continuing to provide major support to enable dedicated police resources to tackle crime.”