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Rural theft costs Nottinghamshire nearly £1m in 2021, according to NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report

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The cost of rural theft in Nottinghamshire reached nearly £1m last year, newly-released figures reveal.

The 2021 Rural Crime Report, released today by rural insurer NFU Mutual, shows rural theft cost Nottinghamshire nearly £954,000 ­— up 8.6% from 2020.

This was against the national trend that saw rural crime costs across the UK fell by 9.3% to £40.5m.

A man with his back to camera wearing a waxed jacket and flat tweed cap looking across a field. (58377937)
A man with his back to camera wearing a waxed jacket and flat tweed cap looking across a field. (58377937)

Farm vehicles, such as Land Rover Defenders, quad bikes and trailers, remain the top targets.

Oliver Collingham, a farmer from Newark, had his Land Rover Discovery stolen in Lincolnshire six months ago.

He parked his car on a pub carpark at around 10.15pm to go for a meal and that returned to a pile of glass where his car should have been.

Oliver Collingham, Newark farmer (58382423)
Oliver Collingham, Newark farmer (58382423)

“It was keyless start, so my belief is they scanned the keys from inside the pub in order to get the engine started or plugged in a device to fool the immobiliser," he said.

“The pub didn’t have CCTV and neither did any of the adjacent premises. We reported it to the police who conducted an investigation but it appears it was stolen by organised criminals who changed the number plate pretty swiftly.”

Not only his car was taken but all his valuables inside it, however, NFU Mutual acted quickly in helping replace the goods and Oliver changed his farm locks and took safety measures.

“Farmers are targeted because you’re in a rural area and often isolated, but if you can make your yard more secure you can deter thieves.” he said.

After the incident, Oliver never leaves his keys inside the car, and makes sure his car is always parked near CCTV cameras, including at his farm.

Oliver advises all farmers to use the modern technology available that can help track or stop theft.

Land Rover Defender owners battled a barrage of crime as the rocketing value of second-hand cars and replacement parts saw thieves stealing the iconic British 4x4 vehicles and stripping them down, with the cost of claims shooting up by 87% to £2.6m nationally.

And although NFU Mutual saw the cost of stolen quad bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) fall 11% to £2.2m in 2021, almost half of those thefts took place from September to December as shipping delays and the effects of Covid-19 and Brexit contributed to low supply and a rise in demand.

Rustling has also become more lucrative for criminal gangs, and latest analysis shows farm animals worth an estimated £2.4m were stolen in 2021.

Chris Robinson, of NFU Mutual North Notts, 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.

“With prices of essential farm equipment such as tractors and quads rising fast and the cost of diesel soaring over the past year, there’s little doubt that criminals will be trying to steal from farms. We also know that essentials of rural living like heating oil tanks will only become more attractive to thieves as costs rise.”

A recent poll created by the rural insurer revealed that 89% of the people who took part believe that inflation will lead to an increase in rural crime.

NFU Mutual advises people to secure their farms and houses with different approaches, either a traditional fortification or technology from movement sensors to community information networks.

In Lincolnshire, the cost of rural theft last year was more than £2.4m. Although a slight fall of 6% from 2020, it was still the worst-affected county by cost in the UK.

Among English regions, the Midlands was the worst affected by cost last year (£8.4m) followed by the South East (£7.5m) and the North East (£6.7m). The Midlands (+1.7%) and the South East (+1.1%) were the only regions not to see a fall.

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