A new NFU report claims the bill for rural crime is now more than £42.5 million. The NFU said that fdarmers and their families in some parts of the country have been victims of arson, vandalism and burglary with many NFU members experiencing fear, intimidation and threats of violence.
Vehicle theft, hare coursing and fly-tipping are also contributing to widespread under-reporting, anger, frustration and worry, the NFU said. The result, NFU’s deputy president Minette Batters said, is an increasing fear of crime in rural areas and significantly lower satisfaction levels in the police than the national average.
Mrs Batters said she wants to see a coordinated and consistent approach that would allow police forces to share best practice.
“With significant and varied differences across police forces, safety in rural areas has become a postcode lottery,” said Mrs Batters.
“Farmers are reporting dramatic increases in incidents and are feeling more vulnerable as these actions continue. Violent crime along with fly-tipping, hare coursing and theft are just a few examples of the crimes farm businesses are being subject to. On my farm, we have suffered with constant hare coursing problems, resulting in gates being left open and stock being continually put at risk.
“More than 1,000 rural police stations closed between 2000 and 2012, directly impacting the level of police surveillance. There are many very good examples of police forces taking action and implementing good practice to deal with rural crime, with great success.
“But we believe more joined-up thinking is needed from police forces together with local authorities and government to address these issues.”