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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Rural Crime in Yorkshire

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12:00am 7th August 2012

With the harvest season underway, police in Ryedale are urging farmers and agricultural workers to look after their equipment.

In the last month a dumper truck and a generator have been stolen in the area and officers are keen to remind people to take the necessary security measures to protect their property from thieves.

With local farmers and workers likely to be working long hours in the fields over the coming months it is important to ensure that expensive equipment is properly secured.

Sergeant John Clayton, of Ryedale Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:

"The harvest season is important for farmers and they can ill afford to lose equipment at such a crucial time.

"It is vitally important that expensive machinery is not left in fields overnight. This makes them an easy target for thieves who can operate unseen in rural, unlit areas.

"Make sure your equipment is stored in locked buildings where possible and the keys are not left in them."

Sgt Clayton also urged residents to ensure that their sheds and outbuildings are protected against thieves.

He added:

"It is important that people take responsibility for their property and making sure that shed and outbuildings are properly secured is a step in the right direction.

"Use good, strong locks to secure outer doors and even consider locking up items which are stored inside sheds and outbuildings.

"It is also a good idea to install outside security lighting which can act as a good deterrent to potential thieves.

"Another must to help prevent rural crime is to report any suspicious activity to the police so we can act upon it and build up a good picture of any ongoing criminal activity."

For more information about protecting your property from criminals, visit the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/ruralcrime

To report any suspicious activity in your area contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.

Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

New figures from leading rural insurer NFU Mutual

New figures from leading rural insurer NFU Mutual reveal rural crime in the North East England, including Yorkshire, totalled an estimated £7.8 million during 2011, with the UK-wide cost of ‘agri-crime’ up 6% to an estimated £52.7 million.

The figures, based on claims data, have been released to coincide with the publication of the annual NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey, a nationwide survey of branch offices located throughout the UK countryside. Unlike other crime reports, NFU Mutual’s includes claims for crimes against homes, farms, commercial premises and vehicles.

Within Yorkshire and Humberside, quad bikes, tools, oil and diesel were identified as the items most commonly targeted by thieves, but evidence has emerged that residents are getting ever more creative in the lengths they will go to deter criminals.

As the UK’s leading rural insurer NFU Mutual, working together with the rural community, established the annual survey to keep its members up-to-date with emerging trends and promote great examples of crime prevention.

Martin Wiles, NFU Mutual Agent in Selby, said:

“It’s all about taking small steps to make life much harder for rural criminals. Although there are some well priced modern products available, you don't have to break the bank with expensive high tech security measures. Making sure your property is well lit, marking any valuable items with Smart Water and working with Police and community groups are excellent low cost, yet effective alternatives to deter thieves."

The NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey suggests poor economic conditions and rising commodity prices have fuelled rural crime over the last twelve months.

While more than three quarters (76%) of branch offices believe members are more concerned about rural crime in their area compared to twelve months ago, it appears country folk are refusing to give in. 

The survey suggests prevention is better than cure, with branches believing high-tech security measures like CCTV and tracker devices, as well as physical security measures such as locks and alarms are more effective than a greater police presence or tougher sentencing for criminals.

While high-tech security equipment has its merits, it often comes at a hefty price. Just as the recession and rising commodity prices has encouraged thieves to be resourceful in the things they target, Britain’s country folk are fighting back with creative yet effective recession busting security measures.

Some of the more improvised defence mechanisms used by NFU Mutual members include keeping geese to alert homeowners of intruders, storing quad bikes in a pen behind a Friesian bull or housing louder and more aggressive animals such as llamas in with other livestock.

The majority of survey respondents (71%) said the bulk of rural thefts are planned with criminals preferring to operate under the cover of darkness. The survey also revealed precious supplies like high-priced power tools, heating oil, red diesel and quad bikes were most likely to be targeted by criminals.

Theft of metal and chemicals has been identified within the survey as growing trends over the last twelve months. Chemicals used for crop spraying can cost more than £600 for 10 litres. NFU Mutual believes chemicals like these are now being targeted by organised gangs who ship them abroad to meet demand across Europe.

For more information visit: www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime

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