August 9, 2022

Image credit: BBC

Countryside crime rise linked to cost-of-living crisis

According to a recent analysis on rural crime, theft of farmers’ cattle, automobiles, and gasoline is increasing as a result of the UK’s cost-of-living crisis.

According to insurer NFU Mutual, payments for rural crime claims between January and March were more than 40% more than in 2021.

It issued a warning that rising food prices could lead to an increase in cattle thefts and the entry of tainted meat into the food supply.

The NFU requests that a national taskforce be established by the government to address rural crime.

According to the NFU Mutual report, an increase in rustling, which resulted in an estimated £2.4 million worth of farm animals being stolen in 2021, might result in animals being butchered and sold in unclean conditions, endangering food security, animal welfare, and human health.

In the meantime, it said that data on claims from the first half of this year shows that gasoline theft has increased by more than twice the amount compared to the same period in 2021. According to its study, 49% of participants thought that fuel theft was currently their top criminal worry.

In the UK, the cost of rural crime was projected to be £40.5 million last year, which represents a general decline from prior years and the second annual decline during the epidemic.

The survey concluded that security measures, rural crime programmes, quieter roadways, and community alertness all contributed to the suppression of rural crime.

The rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, Rebecca Davidson, however, noted that this year’s farm theft is “fast gathering momentum as criminals make up for time missed during the past two pandemic years” and that this was having an effect on farmers’ mental health.

High levels of worry and disturbance are brought on by rural crime, and many farmers and rural property owners feel vulnerable because of their remote position, the author continued.

People in isolated places “may have restless evenings due to the knowledge that dedicated thieves are traversing the countryside seeking targets, and then returning to carry out night-time raids.”