QUAD bikes, oil, diesel and farm tools were top of thieves’ wish list in the Warwickshire countryside.
NFU Mutual’s latest crime report revealed rural crime cost the county nearly £750,000 in 2015 – up 16 per cent from the previous year – and a total of £42.5million nationally.
According to the Stratford-based insurance firm, there has been a shift in the items being targeted at rural homes with the theft of garden equipment cited as the biggest growing trend along with 4x4s.
The report highlighted thieves were becoming more sophisticated in the way they operated and cyber crime was also a growing concern among rural communities.
It also revealed social media was now the main resource for sharing information about crime in rural communities and was a valuable tool – not only in the prevention of rural crime but also for catching criminals and returning stolen goods.
Roger Campion, of NFU Mutual Warwickshire, admitted it was disappointing to see levels of rural crime rising in the county.
He said: “Rural thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and using computers rather than bolt cutters to steal from farms and country properties.
“Farmers and police have been working hard to adopt high-tech security measures to tackle the problems including cloning tractor identities, advertising non-existent machinery in agricultural publications and stealing the GPS computer systems, which are a key part of modern farming.
“Our advice to people living and working in the countryside remains the same – evaluate your current security measures making improvements where necessary, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police but also community watch schemes.”
Visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime for further advice and crime prevention tips.