Cost of rural crime nears £1 million in Suffolk

Stock image of countryside
Stock image of countryside

The cost of rural crime rose to almost £1 million in Suffolk last year, new figures have revealed.

A report, published Monday, by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual shows that while rural theft costs fell by four per cent in the UK last year, in Suffolk they increased by six per cent, to almost £980,000, compared to 2015.

Norfolk, meanwhile, saw its rural crime costs drop by eight per cent, to £910,000.

While recognising that Suffolk had seen a percentage increase in the cost of rural crime, Stuart Grimsey, Chief Inspector of Suffolk Police, said he would need to do detailed analysis on the data used to understand the six per cent hike quoted in the report.

He cautioned that the county’s increased costs could represent a change in crime type, such as the theft of heating oil or high value machinery, rather than a higher level of crime reporting.

The report lists oil and diesel in Suffolk and machinery in Norfolk among the items most favoured by thieves in the last 12 months, with tools and garden equipment also common targets in both counties.

It also reveals that being ‘staked out’ is the biggest worry for country people, followed closely by longer police response.

Chief Insp Grimsey said the report’s findings were ‘useful’ in helping police understand the concerns of the rural community and would give them something to work on.

David Blackwell, NFU Mutual’s senior agent in Bury St Edmunds, said countryside criminals are becoming more brazen and farmers are having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment, with some Suffolk farmers ‘having to turn their farmyards into fortresses to protect themselves’.

For more information and advice on how to beat rural crime in your area go to www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime.