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Farmers in UK fight crime with medieval fortifications

Staff Writer |
In its 2018 Rural Crime Report, rural insurer NFU Mutual looks at the impact that crime is having on rural communities up and down the UK.

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Overall, rural crime cost an estimated £44.5m in 2017. With an increase of 13.4% on the previous year, it is rising at its fastest rate since 2010.

Across the UK, the cost of rural crime has risen most sharply in Wales, up 41% on the previous year, followed by the Midlands which is up 32%, while the South East has seen a rise of 30%.

The cost of rural theft in Scotland has fallen 3.8%, while the North East is the only English region showing a fall, down 6.5%.

The report reveals that farmers are putting up earth banks, dry ditches, stockade fences and high-security single access points to fortify their farms against criminals who use 4 x 4 vehicles to get onto farm land to commit crimes and evade police.

Protective animals such as geese, llamas, and dogs are being used to provide a useful low-tech alarm system, much as they did hundreds of years ago.

“Faced with repeated and determined attacks from a new breed of brazen thieves, farmers and country people are turning to history books to re-purpose security measures from medieval times,” said Tim Price, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual.

“Adapting centuries-old security with high tech solutions is already proving successful in keeping at bay thieves who don’t fear being caught on camera and have the skills to overcome electronic security systems,” explained Tim.

Farmers are also using hi-tech tracking devices and immobilisers on vehicles, CCTV video, dashcams, motion sensors, infra-red surveillance and SmartWater marking in their farmyards and even DNA markers to protect sheep from rustlers.

They also found that limited police resources and repeat attacks are the biggest fears for people in rural communities, with many forced to change the way they live and work as a result of rural crime.

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