Home   Gravesend   News   Article

Rural crime surge costs Kent farmers £1.4m according to NFU Mutual insurance report

Last year rural theft cost Kent almost £1.4m, making it the third worst-affected county in the UK.

Across Britain, rural theft spiked by 40% in the first quarter of this year, with the cost of living rises and the increasing cost of machinery making crime more profitable.

Farm vehicles remain a top target with Land Rover, quad bikes and trailer thefts commonplace while rustling is also on the rise.

Farmers are being urged to boost their security as fuel and machinery prices soar.

NFU Mutual, the insurance company for the farming world, has invested £430,000 to help police and the countryside tackle rural crime.

Steven Jones, who farms at Harvel House Farm in Meopham, says he's already lost £15,000 of equipment to theft so far this year.

But because most of the losses were small – £200 or £300 at a time – he was unable to claim for them through his insurance.

Farmer Steven Jones from Harvel House Farm, Meopham
Farmer Steven Jones from Harvel House Farm, Meopham

He said rural crime was hard to tackle, because everything on a farm was easily portable.

NFU Mutual said delays in the supply chain for agricultural machinery and vehicle parts were making thefts more attractive as well as increasing the cost and difficulty of replacing the stolen items.

Rustling has also become more lucrative for criminal gangs, and the latest analysis shows that farm animals worth an estimated £2.4m were stolen in 2021.

There are fears that soaring food prices could mean that livestock theft will now also increase, raising concerns about food security, animal welfare and people's health due to stolen animals being slaughtered in unhygienic conditions.

Fuel thefts have also risen, with almost half of farmers (49%) saying that fuel theft was now their greatest crime concern.

Farm machinery is increasingly at risk of theft
Farm machinery is increasingly at risk of theft

George Ashby, a partner at NFU Mutual in Ashford, Tenterden and Whitfield, said: “Our latest claims figures warn that rural theft is quickly gathering momentum as criminals make up for time lost over the past two pandemic years.

"We’re advising rural people to review their security, to help prevent crime and disruption.

"Crime in the countryside also causes high levels of anxiety and disruption, with many farmers and rural home-owners feeling vulnerable due to their isolated location."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More