Fall in rural crime but new targets are being identified

Rural crime cost Scotland £1.8 million in 2014, down from £1.9 million in 2013, but despite the fall thieves continued to target tools and livestock.

The figures, published recently, are part of a UK-wide survey by NFU Mutual.

The leading rural insurer’s annual Rural Crime Survey shows that the nationwide cost of rural crime totalled an estimated £37.8 million in 2014 – a 15 per cent reduction on the previous year’s figures.

The items most commonly targeted by thieves right across Scotland over the last 12 months were all terrain vehicles (ATVs) such as quad-bikes as well as tools and livestock.

Reflecting the changing nature of rural crime, in a survey of NFU Mutual’s nationwide network of branch offices, 63 per cent of those surveyed said that cybercrime is a growing problem for rural communities while recent claims data also shows thieves are taking advantage of new targets such as solar panels.

Martin Malone, NFU Mutual manager for Scotland, said: “That there’s been an overall decline in the cost of rural crime over the last 12 months is welcome news and reflects the huge efforts being made by communities and others to tackle this problem.

“Initiatives aimed at reducing livestock theft and installing CESAR tracking for agricultural vehicles are having a real impact and making life increasingly difficult for rural criminals.

“That said, problem areas remain and thieves continue to exploit weaknesses such as around ATVs and tools.

“So, while this 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.”

Further information is available at www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime