Cost of rural crime to UK economy reaches £42.5m in 2015

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Image caption The cost of rural crime to the UK economy in 2015 was £42.5m

The cost of rural crime to the UK economy has risen to £42.5m, latest figures reveal.

NFU Mutual statistics show rural crime cost Lincolnshire £2.2m last year - a 19% increase since 2014 - making it the worst affected county in the UK.

The items most commonly targeted in the county were machinery, oil and diesel and quad bikes, the insurers said.

Lancashire and Kent were the next hardest hit, losing £2.1m and £1.9m respectively.

NFU Mutual said the overall costs to the UK economy had increased 0.4% since 2014.

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Tim Price, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, said: "It's a big increase in Lincolnshire and we think it's down to the renewed interest from rural thieves in the high-tech machinery.

"Some of this is being sold in the UK but we're convinced an awful lot of this is going abroad, being stolen by international gangs, being transported across Europe and sold right across the globe."

Arable farmer Simon Hawkes said he had had two tractors stolen, one of which was found in Eastern Europe.

He said he thought rural crime was "getting out of hand" in the county.

"Anything that is possibly saleable is being stolen and sold," he said.

Ch Insp Jim Tyner, Lincolnshire Police's lead officer for rural crime, said the force was working with its partners to tackle the problem and community policing teams were offering security advice to every farm in the county.

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