Rural Crime Up By 6%

Latest figures show that rural theft in the South West of England totalled an estimated £7.6 million, the UK-wide cost of 'agri-crime' is up 6% to an estimated £52.7 million. 

Within Devon and Cornwall, tools, quad bikes and metal were identified as the items most commonly targeted by thieves, while levels of tractor theft are falling. 

Residents claim they are finding it harder to stop the gangs beleived to be operating in the area, as the thieves use any methods to either complete the crime or get away. 

Heart has heard they will: 

  • Knock down walls with cars or trucks 
  • Syphon the farmers red diesel to steal other vehicles 
  • Use 4x4 vehicles to escape cross country to evade capture 

Now the police are farmers are fighting back determined to catch the criminals and make the countryside a safe place to live. 

High-tech security measures like CCTV and tracker devices, as well as physical security measures such as locks and alarms are appearing on farms and farm buildings. 

LISTEN HERE: Farm worker Kier Edwards

It's reckoned the bulk of rural thefts are planned with criminals preferring to operate under the cover of darkness. 

NFU Mutual believes chemicals like these are now being targeted by organised gangs who ship them abroad to meet demand across Europe.

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We followed police officers from Devon & Somerset as part of their cross-border patrols where they flood known hot spot areas with officers. 

Even having a presence in areas is known to put off would be criminals who use the main trunk roads to transport any stolen goods.

LISTEN HERE: PC Simon Aldred