Concerns after Essex high in rural crime rankings

Crime / Tue 12th Aug 2014 at 08:49am

ESSEX is ranked third in a UK league table for rural crime, according to latest statistics.

More than £2m worth of items were stolen in the county last year, a survey by leading rural insurers NFU Mutual has revealed.

Cambridgeshire topped the league with an estimated value of £2.7m.

Tools, machinery and fuel such as domestic heating oil and farmers’ supplies of red diesel were the most stolen items, while more than half the staff interviewed from hundreds of the insurer’s offices around the country said that they had seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen. The theft of livestock, which includes sheep rustling, is up by 2 per cent nationally

Statistics show that countryside criminals cost an estimated £44.5m in 2013 – a rise of 5.2 per cent on 2012 figures . .

NFU Mutual agent Alex Forbes 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.”

The news comes as £40,000 of Home Office police innovation funding was recently secured for the National Rural Crime Network, a web-based group dedicated to researching and implementing ways to reduce rural crime.

Essex Police participates in the scheme which is sponsored by three quarters of the country’s 28 police and crime commissioners. Led by North Yorkshire PCC Julia Mulligan, it aims to provide information and support for rural communities by encouraging interaction between businesses, organisations and the police.

Policing Minister Mike Penning, said: “The National Rural Crime Network will help support rural communities and businesses that are all too often targeted by ruthless criminals who consider homes and property in the countryside an easy target.

“This collaborative approach between North Yorkshire Police and dozens of PCCs around England and Wales will enable forces and neighbourhoods to become more resilient in preventing these crimes and protecting businesses and communities in rural areas.”

As well as working with National Neighbourhood Watch and Crimestoppers, the NCRN will encourage the development of strong links between national policing leads for rural and wildlife crime, for heritage crime, and for organisations such as the National Farmers Union and English Heritage.

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