Rural crime network to tackle thefts

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Farmers are being warned to keep on top of security after the cost of rural crime in Lancashire was revealed to be £1.8m last year.

High on thieves’ hit lists are high-value tractors, quad bikes and livestock, according to figures released by rural insurer NFU Mutual.

Thieves are also targeting lower-value tractors which are not fitted with hi-tech systems, before exporting them to developing countries.

NFU Mutual spokesman Tim Price said: “There is no doubt that both opportunist criminals and members of international criminal gangs are targeting farms.

“While the first group will often move on to an easier target if they see a farm has even basic security in place, the latter are professionally organised with a specific target, so it’s vital that farmers regularly review their security measures and update them to keep one step ahead of would-be thieves.”

A two-year funding package for a newly created National Rural Crime Network (NRCN)operating across England and Wales has been announced with funding of almost £40,000.

It will be used to provide information and support for rural communities by encouraging direct interaction between businesses, organisations and the police.

The concept for a rural crime network was developed by the Rural Services Network (RSN), working alongside most Police Crime Commissioners serving rural communities including Lancashire. and Cumbria.