February 7, 2023

Rural crime is up 40 percent amid the cost of living crisis, with vehicles like Land Rover Defenders being prime targets for thieves.

After two years of declining crime during the pandemic, the cost of rural theft has risen to £40.5 million a year.

A report from insurer NFU Mutual shows that costs in the first quarter of this year were 40 percent higher than in the same period last year.

Fuel theft is on the rise again, driven by the huge price increases of petrol, diesel and oil

And the rising value of used cars and replacement parts has led to an 87 per cent rise in Land Rover theft claims to £2.6 million a year as criminals steal and strip the vehicles.

High-end farm equipment continued to be a target, with £9.1 million in claims last year.

Rustling has also risen, with an estimated £2.4 million worth of farm animals stolen last year.

Rebecca Davidson of NFU Mutual said, “Rural crime is causing a lot of unrest and disruption, and many rural farmers and homeowners feel vulnerable.”

She added: ‘We advise rural residents to review their security, to help prevent crime and disruption.

“With the prices of essential farm equipment such as tractors and quads soaring and the cost of diesel soaring over the past year, there is no doubt that criminals will try to steal from farms.

“We also know that essentials of rural life, such as fuel oil tanks, only become more attractive to thieves as costs rise. A recent NFU Mutual poll shows that 89 percent of respondents believe inflation will lead to an increase in rural crime…

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“The knowledge that determined thieves are scouring the countryside in search of targets and returning to carry out nighttime raids is causing sleepless nights for many in remote areas.”

Theft of diesel, heating oil and other fuels decreased slightly between 2020 and 2021.

But the latest claim indications from 2022 suggest that fuel theft is on the rise again, driven by the huge price increases of petrol, diesel and oil.

High-end farm equipment continued to be a target as there were £9.1m in claims to cover thefts last year

The insurance company warned that oil theft can leave isolated rural households without heat during the coldest days of the year, while theft of diesel and other fuel leaves farmers with high supply bills and interrupts vital operations during a time when farmers are least affected. can afford to quit.

Inspector Ian Cox, of the Norfolk Police National Crime Team, added: “Fuel theft is becoming a prominent problem both locally and nationally as the price of the raw material repeatedly hit record levels.

“Unfortunately, this means that theft also costs victims a lot of money, not to mention the physical, environmental and psychological damage caused.”