Cambridgeshire worst affected by surge in rural crime

08:49 12 August 2014

Archant

Cambridgeshire bore the brunt of a surge in rural crime last year – with millions of pounds worth of goods stolen.

Cambridgeshire bore the brunt of a surge in rural crime last year – with millions of pounds worth of goods stolen.

According to NFU Mutual, claims topped £2.7million across Cambridgeshire last year, putting the county top of the list of places worst hit.

Lincolnshire was next on the list, with claims of £2.3million.

Across eastern England, the cost of crime by 12pc in 2013 – costing the economy an estimated £8.5m and making it the worst-affected region in the UK.

The figures are part of a UK-wide survey by NFU Mutual, which shows the nationwide cost of rural crime totalled an estimated £44.5m in 2013 – a rise of 5.2 per cent. The new figure reverses a fall of 19 per cent in 2012.

The most common items targeted by thieves in the eastern counties over the past 12 months were tools, machinery and fuel such as domestic heating oiland farmers’ supplies of ‘red’ diesel.

More than half of staff interviewed from hundreds of NFU Mutual offices in rural communities around the country also said they had seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen.

Although high-value thefts may be planned and highly-organised, the number of stolen garden tools and ornaments indicates opportunist thieves continue to target gardens and outbuildings.

Alex Forbes, from NFU Mutual, 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 East Anglia clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback – it can be devastating for businesses and families.”

Top 10 items targeted by thieves

1. Tools

2. ATVs/quad bikes

3. Oil/diesel

4. Machinery

5. Garden equipment

6. Livestock

7. Tractors

8. Trailers

9. Vehicles

10. Equestrian equipment

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