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Rural Crime

How can you tackle increasing rural crime?

10 September, 2019
The cost of rural crime came in at a whopping £49.9 million in 2018, NFU’s Rural Crime Report 2019, finds.

As many members will be aware, the threat to farm now goes far beyond theft and attacks on livestock.
In an ever-increasing digital world, and with farms diversifying, cybercrime is a big threat. The risk can be to financial data and safety and hacking into farm security cameras and equipment, for example.
It appears that fly-tipping, too, has evolved. What started as the occasional item left at a farm gate, has now developed into a whole business of companies impersonating genuine waste disposal organisations – leaving farmers to foot the bill. The threat can be not only to a farmer having to clean up the mess, but the environmental impact and safety of grazing livestock.
Then there’s theft. From hordes of livestock to costly machinery and equipment – theft can damage a farm’s business financially and in terms of output. In 2018, claims for stolen farm vehicles rose by 26%, which accounted for the overall increase in rural crime seen across the country. Reports have been made that baler twine is being used by criminals to mark targets for criminals, so be vigilant.
Rural crime is not only damaging to farmers, but the local rural community, too. Reports of machinery stolen from farms being used to raid cash machines aren’t uncommon. There’s also a threat that stolen guns make their way into darker, organised crime.

In 2018, it was reported that the cost of rural crime in the UK rose by 12.1%, with the impact being seen across the country.

The worst affected county was Kent, which saw a 74.3% increase in financial loss caused by rural crime, accounting for over £2.5 million. Meanwhile, Norfolk saw an increase of 99.5% and Buckinghamshire increased by a staggering 124.4%.

In good news, rural crime in Wales was reduced by 7.1%.

So, what can be done?

It pays to be prepared, and there are several measures that can be implemented to ward-off criminals.

Boundary security

Fences and gates are a good deterrent, helping to restrict access to your yard or buildings. Metal gates are thought to be more secure than timber and should be adequately secured at both ends. Choose reversed pins and good quality chains and padlocks. Remember that public rights of way must not be obstructed.

Entry points

Key access points can be monitored via CCTV and automatic number place recognition (ANPR) cameras. A combination of both will record not only vehicles accessing the premises but also any pedestrians who gain entry. Where key entry points are gated, it is worth considering installing an electronic entry system. This could be a code, fob or app which permits entry to the site for authorised persons and allows the site entry to remain securely closed when not in use.

Camera Systems

There is a wide selection of camera systems available, including wireless ‘line of sight’ technology. Whilst there is no reason not to invest in a system to cover the entire farmyard, they can also be installed on the key targets such as poultry sheds. Day and night cameras will provide a record of everybody accessing the buildings, including unauthorised personnel.

Alarm systems

One of the most practical alarm systems available is a wireless perimeter alarm system. This battery operated alarm can be used around sheds in more remote locations and works up to 400m away from where the control panel is installed. The perimeter alarm system will begin by issuing a loud warning to intruders when they cross the first detection point. If they move to the next detection point, the system sends an alert to the nominated contact to advise them that someone is on the property and provides video footage which can be shared with the police.

Vehicle/Asset Tracking

An additional layer of security for vehicles and machinery is a vehicle or asset tracker. Generally using GPS, tracking devices allow you to do just that – provides location information of the tracked vehicle or asset.
The AF General Supplies team are here to support you with your security measures. For more information on what you can do to keep your farm, livestock and machinery safe, contact the team on 01603 881 809 or email

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