Criminals cost rural businesses in Leicestershire £1million in 2017 - an increase of around a third on the previous year.
The items most commonly targeted by thieves across Leicestershire over the last 12 months were quad bikes and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), tools and machinery.
Tom Shepherd, NFU Mutual Senior Agent in the county, said: “Countryside criminals continue to become more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.
“Social media is fast becoming the new eyes and ears of the countryside.
“By keeping in close touch with neighbours and police through local farmwatch schemes country people can play a significant role in identifying suspicious activity and bringing thieves to justice.
“Fitting gates to prevent easy access to farm yards and drives is one of the most effective measures.
“High-tech security such as movement detectors, infra-red cameras and ‘geo-fencing’, which triggers an alarm if a farm vehicle moves off the premises, can also play a part.”
The report further reveals that limited police resources and repeat attacks are the biggest fears for people in rural communities, with many forced to change the way they live and work as a result of rural crime.
Mr Shepherd added: “The threat of becoming a victim of rural crime, and regular reports of suspicious characters watching farms is causing high levels of anxiety amongst farmers who know their rural location makes them vulnerable to attacks.
“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 scheme.”