Huge bill for rural crime

FARM crime in the north east is estimated to have cost £9.2million in 2010, according to a new survey.

And the NFU Mutual report reveals a 12 per cent increase in agri-crime across the north east and Yorkshire last year.

The figures reflect a national trend, with almost two thirds of NFU Mutual branches reporting a rise in rural crime in their areas.

Nationally, tractors, heating oil, scrap metal and livestock are the main targets for thieves, but in the north east the most common items taken were quad bikes, fuel and power tools.

The report is from a survey by the insurance company based on claims for crimes against homes, farms, commercial premises and vehicles.

NFU Mutual Agent Cath Reed, who is based in Northumberland, said: “People living and working in the north east need to be vigilant and keep working with police and local communities to help fight rural crime.”

She added: “Highly organised thieves don’t just target tractors, Land Rovers and farm machinery, they can also make money from items like quad bikes and power tools that can be stolen and sold on in the blink of an eye.”

in the early summer, rural Northumberland was hit by a spate of high-profile farm raids, which netted thousands of pounds worth of goods.