A Home Office survey of businesses released today estimates that rural crime affected around a quarter of agriculture, forestry and fishing premises in 2014, with around 95,000 crimes.
The most commonly reported crimes were theft (33% of all report crimes) and vandalism (24%).
Between 2013 and 2014 recorded levels of farm burglary per 1,000 premises fell according to the statistics, with the farming, fishery and forestry sectors appearing to experience lower crime levels than other businesses types surveyed such as retail and food premises.
The survey records fraud, but does not record online crime for the farm sector, which is becoming an increasing concern for our members.
The highest levels of organised crime reported was in theft of vehicles.
The Home Office Commercial Victimisation Survey is part of work undertaken to understand the impact of crimes against businesses.
Suzanne Clear, the NFU’s senior adviser on planning and rural affairs, said:
“The NFU welcomes the Home Office Survey as it helps raise the issue of agricultural crime. We know such crime can have a devastating impact on farm families as well as on their businesses.
New site launched today
We’re asking members to visit www.NationalRuralCrimeNetwork.net to see what is happening to address crime in the countryside and how local communities can get involved.
“We are concerned that not only of the levels of crime too high, but that they hide under-reported crime and antisocial behaviour that our members tell us they experience but do not always feel that they can report.
“The NFU is working with the Home Office, but also with the National Rural Crime Network - an organisation of 29 Police crime commissioners and key groups with an interest in reducing rural crime and antisocial behaviour - whose new website is released today.
“We are highlighting not just the important theft and vandalism issues raised by these statistics,but also to ensure wider wildlife and livestock crime, fly-tipping and fly-grazing are understood and reported.
“In our British Farmer and Grower Magazine in May we are also highlighting the work of county chairman John Taylor and NFU members in Lancashire to reduce sheep theft.
“We would also urge all our members to ensure they keep tractors, quads and farm machinery security marked and locked away if at all possible, toensure livestock records are up to date and to avoid giving outpersonal or financial information to people cold calling on the phone, via the internet or calling at the door.
“If you are a victim of crime you can report it to crime stoppers even if you do not wish to give out your identity on 0800 555 111.”