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Cost of rural crime soars as farm machinery is targeted

Quad bikes are a lucrative target

RURAL crime in Scotland has risen in cost by 44pc with organised gangs targeting farm machinery. NFU Mutual's annual assessment says the theft of tractors, quad bikes and livestock cost £2.3m in 2019. Police say their rural crime strategy provides a clear focus on tackling serious organised crime. Scotland has seen the highest percentage increase in the cost of rural crime of all the UK's nations and regions. Despite the sharp rise, the cost of rural crime in Scotland remains below the UK average. Mark McBrearty, NFU Mutual regional manager for Scotland, said: "We're very concerned that rural crime is taking an increasing toll on the Scottish countryside at a time when Covid-19 is putting huge extra pressure on everyone's lives and farmers are working flat out to feed the nation. "Provisional theft claims data for the first half of 2020 indicates that while rural theft fell overall during the early part of pandemic lockdown, we're now seeing signs that thieves are becoming more active again." Police Scotland said the number of incidents appeared to be broadly stable but the value of the items being stolen had risen. Inspector Alan Dron said: "There has not been a significant rise in additional crimes occurring in rural communities but those which have been committed have resulted in higher value claims, supporting evidence that increasingly serious organised crime groups are targeting and influencing rural crime. "We have the capability to stop people intent on committing crimes, disrupt them in any way we can plus been able to put some prolific criminals behind bars."

<< back Published: 04 Aug 2020, 13:04

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