Huge drop in cost of reported rural crime

Police are appealing for witnesses
Police are appealing for witnesses
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Farmers in Melton have been warned to continue being vigilant despite the cost of rural crime dropping by almost 40 per cent in Leicestershire and Rutland.

A report released by insurance company NFU Mutual shows that the value of reported criminal offences in the countryside in this area fell from £1.2 million in 2013 to £750,000 last year.

This is more than double the national trend, according to the study, which showed a 15 per cent fall from £44.5 million to £37.8 million.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) say farmers in the area are taking more crime prevention measures to safeguard their property but that they should not relax in the wake of the encouraging new figures.

Alison Pratt, spokesperson for the East Midlands branch of the NFU, said: “It is definitely good news that rural crime has dropped in Leicestershire and Rutland.

“Last year there was a bit of a spike in the figures and we appeared to be heading back towards the bad old days.

“But we would encourage farmers until we are blue in the face to keep doing what they can to prevent thefts, burglaries and other crimes from happening.

“They need to be vigilant and check their stock regularly - we’ve had some good news but this is no time for complacency.”

Thieves have targeted vehicles, tools and quad bikes in rural areas of Leicestershire and Rutland, as well as sheep and cattle.

Mrs Pratt added: “Farmers have been taking their own steps to prevent crime such as tagging and marking property and we would also encourage them to get in touch with the police if they see anything suspicious.”

The survey, based on findings across UK branch offices of the NFU Mutual branch offices, indicated that the most commonly targeted items over the last 12 months were fuel, tools and quad bikes and that cyber crime was also now a concern in rual areas.

Matthew Scott, chief claims manager at NFU Mutual, said: “That our figures show an overall decline in the cost of rural crime during the last 12 months is welcome news and reflects the huge efforts being made by communities and others to tackle this problem.

“While today’s survey contains some good news, it also highlights the need for rural communities to remain vigilant and put security at the forefront of their minds.”

l The Melton Times was unable to obtain specific figures for rural crime in Melton borough from either the town NFU Mutual office or the local police force.