NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2023 - The Cost On The Countryside

NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2023 - The Cost On The Countryside

The pandemic gave a welcome respite to rural areas as crime was kept at home. The uptick seen in 2022 has continued into the beginning of this year and shows no sign of letting up.

In NFU Mutual's Rural crime report 2023, the insurer reveal that rural crime cost the UK approximately £49.5m in 2022.

That’s a rise of 22% from the previous year.

So where does this steep rise come from?

A slump in the supply of farm machinery has caused their value to rocket.

And criminal gangs have responded by establishing global markets in farm technology and equipment.

Agricultural vehicle theft cost the UK an estimated £11.7m in 2022. An increase of 29% on 2021.


Where's worst affected by rural crime?

Some parts of the UK have been worse affected than others.

In truth, the report makes for grim reading. With all parts of the UK seeing more than a 10% increase.

The exception is Scotland, whose cost of rural crime dropped by 48.3% compared to 2021.

A remarkable turnaround considering Scotland was one of the worst affected areas in last year's report.

A special mention to the North West of England which best stemmed the tide of rural crime with ‘just’ a £400,000 rise in cost.

Looking at the diagram, you can see that the worst affected counties are in the east of England.

With poor old Lincolnshire coming out as number one with £2.5m.

Rural crime by countiesRural Crime by counties map

What can be done about rural crime?

A whopping 70% of NFU Agents who where surveyed knew farmers who had been repeat victims of rural crime.

Hannah Binns, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: 

“Those targeted by criminals may often second guess themselves in the aftermath of an incident as well as live in fear of repeat attacks on what is not only their workplace, but also their family home.

“That’s why we are working with farmers to help protect their livelihoods, sharing our advice and expertise as the main insurer of farmers and providing support to tackle rural crime.”

The affect of rural crime on farmers is far great than replacing a vehicle or piece of machinery.

A loss of a quad, diesel or tractor can put production on stop.

And it can only start again once the stolen item has been replaced, which can take months.

To help farmers and rural communities protect their livelihoods from the threat posed by organised crime, NFU Mutual provided over £400,000 in support for rural crime fighting initiatives last year.

But you have to ask, is it enough to make a difference?

Grant schemes are available to help improve the efficiency of farms, yet there’s little to help tackle rural crime.

The ones that do exist are community funded.

Here are NFU Mutual's top tips for securing a rural business.

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