The cost of rural crime in Northern Ireland in 2018 was £2.8m, a rise of 3.9% on 2017, the latest NFU Mutual report on rural crime has found.

NFU Mutual insures three-quarters of UK farms, as well as thousands of rural businesses.

In 2018 rural crime cost the UK £49.9m. Compared to the cost in 2017, this is an increase of 12%, or around £5.4m. According to the insurer, it means that in the last two years the cost of crime has increased by more than £10m.

Co Antrim is on the one of the 30 worst-affected counties in the UK, with the cost of rural crime skyrocketing last year by 43.9% to £805,680.

It said that while a large proportion of the recent rise can be attributed to the huge increase in the theft of agricultural vehicles, the problem is far from isolated. The NFU Mutual statistics show a rise in almost every type of rural crime in almost every area of the UK.

Last year the theft of agricultural vehicles cost £7.4m in the UK, quad thefts cost £2.6m and livestock theft cost £2.5m.

The cost of rural crime in the UK is at its highest level since 2011.

Emerging trends

NFU Mutual has identified a number of emerging trends when it comes to rural crime:

  • Repeat attacks and limited police resources are the biggest concerns for people living in the countryside.
  • Tools, quads, ATVs and machinery are topping the thieves’ wish lists.
  • One in four NFU Mutual agents know someone who has had to change the way they live or farm as a result of rural crime.
  • More people are using hi-tech alarm systems, and CCTV is one of the most common security measures being installed.
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