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NFU Mutual Rural Crime Hits Seven Year High

Cost of crime in Scotland’s countryside up 62 percent

The cost of rural theft in the UK has hit a seven-year peak, with the biggest percentage increase – 62 percent – seen in Scotland.

In its 2019 Rural Crime Report, published today (August 5), leading rural insurer NFU Mutual’s claims figures reveal that rural crime cost the UK £50m in 2018, an increase of 12% on the previous year, making it the highest cost in seven years.


Although the biggest percentage increase was seen in Scotland, its rural crime cost remains below the UK average.

According to NFU Mutual, the sharp rises are being driven mainly by high value thefts of tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles – up 26% to £7.4m in 2018.

The report is available to read at: www.nfumutual.co.uk/farming/ruralcrime/


Chairman of NFU Scotland’s Legal and Technical Committee, Jamie Smart, who farms at Linlithgow, said: “All aspects of rural crime remain a blight on those who live and work in Scotland’s countryside.

“The long list of rural crimes being committed on a weekly, if not daily basis, extends to vehicle and machinery theft, fly tipping, livestock worrying, livestock rustling, hare coursing, metal and fuel theft, arson and vandalism.  The impact of crime, and the threat posed by criminal activity takes a huge toll on the health of those who live in rural areas.

“Huge strides are being taken to address rural crime in Scotland and the work of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime, of which NFU Scotland is a founding member, is tackling much of this head on.

“Regional SPARC initiatives are now in place across much of Scotland and regular farm-based meetings involving Police Scotland and other stakeholders have been held in recent times, providing farmers and crofters with information and tips on how to combat crime at a farm level, keeping property, goods and livestock safe.

“Regardless of whether the crime is organised or opportunistic, almost all will involve transport of some kind.  We repeat Police Scotland’s plea that should you spot a strange vehicle in an unusual place or unexpected activity in the countryside, please take time to report the registration number and any details to 101 and allow Police Scotland to take the matter further. Even small details may allow Police Scotland to gain a better perspective of the issues happening in and around our farms.”

Responding to NFU Mutual's rural crime report, Inspector Alan Dron, Co-ordinator for the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) commented: “Any figures indicating a rise in crime are never welcome.   However, it is important to place today's report into context.  

“Firstly, SPARC predicted and indeed expected a rise in the annual rural crime figures collated by NFU Mutual.  Key is that there has not been a significant rise in additional crimes occurring in the rural communities of Scotland but those which have been committed have resulted in higher value claims, supporting evidence that increasingly serious organised crime groups are targeting and influencing rural crime.

“Secondly, ensuring those living, working and enjoying Scotland’s rural communities and environments have confidence that any crime related issues affecting them were taken seriously, acted upon and understood was a key priority for the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) and thus SPARC encouraged those in rural communities and were unfortunately the victims of crime to come forward and report it.   

“We need those in the rural communities to be aware of who may be in their communities, report any suspicious activity, take measures to protect their property and utilise services such as Rural Watch to be kept up to date with what is happening in their area.”  Ends

Notes to editors


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006


Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 112/19


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