A report by insurers NFU Mutual shows that, in 2018, crime in the countryside went up by 12%, for an overall cost to the country of £49.9 million. Worse, says the research, thieves are now organised in gangs that ‘steal expensive tractors and flocks of sheep to order’.
Among the most targeted items are costly tools, quads and machinery. The situation is so bad that people are having to change their way of life in a bid to keep their property safe — Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at the NFU Mutual, knows one farmer whose family ‘cannot leave the farm together any more to attend their local show because thieves will seize the opportunity to raid the farm’.
For this reason, farmers in Sussex, where, along with the rest of the South-East of England, the cost of crime rose by more than 13% in 2018 to reach £8.6 million, have come up with a rather more old-fashioned idea to protect themselves — digging ditches around their property.
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