East Midlands sees increase in the cost of rural crime

Media captionRural crime in the East Midlands has jumped by by nearly 40% in the past year - the largest increase in the UK.

The cost of rural crime in the East Midlands has risen faster than anywhere else in the UK, figures show.

The region has seen a 38% increase since 2012 in the costs of thefts from farms and rural homes, totalling £6.1m.

In Nottinghamshire the amount had almost doubled to £1m while Lincolnshire was the second worst in the UK with costs amounting to £2.3m.

The latest survey by rural insurers NFU Mutual showed high-value tractors and machinery were the main targets.

Farmer Robert Smith, from Caunton near Newark, Nottinghamshire, has been targeted twice this year.

On the second occasion thieves entered his workshop and took tools.

"It seems to be a pattern in our area and farmers are very good at talking to each other," he said.

"It doesn't matter what you do, apart from putting up Fort Knox style fencing, you can't stop them."

The figures have been released in NFU Mutual's annual survey which showed the cost overall of rural crime had risen by 5% to £44.5m in the last year.

The East Midlands breakdown

  • Derbyshire - £690,000. A rise of 6% from last year
  • Leicestershire - £1.3m. Up from £790,000
  • Lincolnshire - £2.3m. An increase of 28% from £1.8m last year
  • Nottinghamshire - £1m. A 92% rise from last year's figure of £510,000

Nottinghamshire agent Rebecca Stevens said: "The cost of claims is increasing as a result of more high-value items being stolen. That's why it's important to stay vigilant and fight rural crime.

"Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of the East Midlands clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback - it can be devastating for businesses and families."

The most common items stolen included tools, quad bikes, farm machinery such as hay balers and ploughs, and fuel such as domestic heating oil and 'red' diesel.

Inspector Andy Gan from Nottinghamshire Police said the region's Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping had made funding available to help target rural crime.

He said: "We are very keen to stop this sort of crime and over the last 18 months we have been doing a lot of work with farmers to try and tackle this."

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