Countryside crimewave? Report shows rural crimes in Warkwickshire up 13% - The Rugby Observer

Countryside crimewave? Report shows rural crimes in Warkwickshire up 13%

Andy Morris 14th Aug, 2017 Updated: 14th Aug, 2017   0

A NEW wave of rural crime is hitting the countryside, after new figures revealed a 13 per cent rise in Warwickshire over the last year.

Rural crime cost Warwickshire over £840,000 in 2016, up from £740,000 in 2015.

The figures form part of NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Report, revealing that despite the UK seeing a four per cent drop last year, early theft claims for the first half of this year suggest the cost of rural theft has risen sharply in the first half of 2017.

The items most commonly targeted by thieves across Warwickshire over the last 12 months were tools, garden equipment, ATV (all terrain vehicles) and quad bikes.

Roger Campion, NFU Mutual Senior Agent in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, said farmyards were being turned into fortresses to ward off thieves.

He said: “Countryside criminals are becoming more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security.”

The report revealed being ‘staked out’ was the biggest worry for country people, followed by longer police response times.

Roger added: “Our advice to people living and working in the countryside is to regularly evaluate your current security measures making improvements where necessary, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the local police and local farm watch schemes.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said combating rural crime was a key priority.

He said: “While the figures are only one indicator and can sometimes be skewed by a small number of high-value claims, they nevertheless do show the significant impact that crime has in rural areas.”

He said he had funded various initiatives to tackle rural crime over the last year, including specialist training to identify stolen agricultural and plant machinery, information on livestock theft and identifying forensic opportunities to catch offenders.

He added: “I also fund a team of Rural Crime Co-ordinators, who help people improve their security and increase the opportunities the police have to gather evidence.

“Crime in rural parts of our county will not be tolerated. It’s important that crime is taken just as seriously in rural areas as urban parts of the country and I will continue to push to ensure that rural forces like Warwickshire Police receive a fairer slice of funding to be able to tackle it effectively.”

A spokeswoman for Warwickshire Police said some rural communities may feel vulnerable due to the increasing sophistication of organised criminals.

Superintendent David Gardner said: “We know more people are coming forward to report incidents to us, which is encouraging.

“The ‘We don’t buy crime’ property marking and registering scheme continues across Warwickshire. We have mobile contact centres, off-road bikes, a 4×4 vehicle, dedicated wildlife crime officers, rural crime coordinators, and the ‘Rural Matters’ campaign to encourage people to report crime and signpost crime reduction advice.

“These have all been implemented to provide reassurance, protection, advice and extra police visibility.”

Visit to read the full report. Visit to find out more about the Warwickshire Rural Watch scheme.

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