Tue 01 December 2020

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Counting the cost of Rural Crime

Alert message sent 19/08/2020 16:05:00

Information sent on behalf of Bedfordshire Police

The NFU have issued a Press Release in relation to the Cost of rural crime - it tops £8m in the East as gangs target farm machinery.

The rise is being driven by organised criminal gangs targeting high value tractors, quad bikes and large numbers of livestock.

While there have been some reductions in crime under lockdown, there are concerns that rural theft is set to escalate as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic bites.

Theft of tractor global positioning systems (GPS) is a major concern as farms move to using precision technology to run field operations. Typically costing £8,000 to £10,000, GPS equipment has become a highly-prized item on the shopping lists of rural thieves, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown where smaller, high-value items appear to have been targeted to meet demand overseas.

We continue to work hard to stem the tide and are warning rural communities and helping with prevention advice.

Rural Crime Trends
Quads and ATVS
• Quads and ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) are disappearing from farms in large numbers – thanks to being easy to transport and absence of registration plates
• Bespoke physical security devices, such as Quad Vice, can deter opportunist thieves
• CESAR marking and tracking devices are the most effective security measures, once basic measures of removing keys and keeping vehicles out of sight in a building with the machine secured have been addressed.

Land Rover Defenders
• Land Rover Defenders remain highly desirable to thieves
• Trackers, alarms and storing vehicles out of sight help deter thieves from stealing these British icons

• Thieves are increasingly cloning the identity of tractors to make detection more difficult
• Thieves are stealing expensive tractors costing over £50,000 for export to developed countries and small, older tractors to export to third world countries
• NFU Mutual goes to extreme lengths to trace and recover stolen kit and in one operation with Navcis earlier in 2020 four tractors and a farm loader worth £108,000 were traced to Poland and brought back to the UK.

• Although rustling dropped at the start of the year, initial figures suggest nearly a 15% increase in cost year on year in April as thieves targeted farms under lockdown
• Technology - including DNA testing, fleece marking with micro-dots, electronic chips and boluses - now offers robust evidence to help bring rustlers to justice
• Thefts of large numbers of lambs are raising concerns that stock is being stolen for slaughter and processing outside regulated abattoirs before illegally entering the food chain

As well as the financial cost, there’s a serious effect on the mental well-being of people living in rural and often isolated areas. There are fears that the impact will be felt harder this year as farmers have been working flat-out to feed the nation and many rural communities have been put under additional pressure by the challenges brought by COVID-19

DIAL 999 when - A crime is happening right now - Someone is in danger, or there is a risk of serious damage to property - A suspect or vehicle connected to a serious crime is nearby.

DIAL 101 to - Report a crime not currently in progress - Give information to the police about suspicious activity or crime in your area - Speak to the Police about a general enquiry.

NFU - National Farmers Union (Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire)
Tel:01638 672 199
Message sent by
Giovanna Traetto-Reynolds (Police, PCSO, OPERATION SENTINEL RURAL TEAM)

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