RURAL CRIME IS ON THE RISE

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Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds and causes untold anxiety across the UK, which is why NFU Mutual analyses its claims data annually to assess the state of crime in the countryside.

Last year (2016) rural crime cost the UK £39.2million. Although that’s down a little (4.3%) on the 2015 cost, initial figures for the first half of 2017 suggest the downward trend isn’t going to last.

In summary the NFU report stats are:


  • Agricultural vehicle thefts unchanged at £5.4m p.a.

  • Land Rover Defender thefts up from £1.8m to £2.1m, a 17% increase.

  • ATV/Quad thefts up from £1.8m to £2.0m, an 11% increase.

In geographic terms the following counties are the most affected by rural crime:

  • Lincolnshire at £2.5m, up 5.1%

  • Essex at £1.8m, up 44.2%

  • Cambridgeshire at £1.6m, down 7.1%

  • Gloucestershire at £1.6m, up 38.1%

  • Kent at £1.5m, down 5.4%

  • W Yorkshire at £1.5m, up 30.1%


NFU Mutual has invested heavily to combat rural crime. Rural crime causes deep anxiety and extra work for farmers, and it damages the trust of those who live and work in the countryside. For this reason, NFU Mutual supports a number of initiatives that bring together the police, farmers and rural organizations to combat the problem.

In 2010 NFU Mutual joined forces with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NAVCIS) in an effort to reduce the levels of tractor theft. NFU Mutual also works with the Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU). These partners share information and engage with police forces throughout the UK and the across the globe. Farm machinery and vehicle theft cost £5.4m in 2016.

NFU Mutual are also long term supporters of The Official CESAR Scheme, the number one anti-theft and security registration scheme for agricultural and construction equipment. CESAR is owned by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) and the Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) and is powered by Datatag ID.

CESAR is made up of state of the art Datatag technology including tamper evident ID plates, Datatadots®, Transponders and Datatag DNA with UV trace. Once a machine is fitted with CESAR the details are recorded on Datatag’s secure database. In the unlikely event of a theft the police have 24/7 access to the database which then enables them to identify the stolen machine and recover it back to its rightful owner.

The scheme which now protects over 250,000 items of machinery and was first launched back in 2007This year CESAR celebrated its tenth anniversary. Due to the proven success of CESAR, NFU Mutual are amongst the leading insurance companies who provide premium discounts for owners and contractors of up to 20% for all CESAR registered equipment.

Manufacturers installing CESAR as standard on their tractors and agricultural equipment include John Deere, JCB, Massey Ferguson, McCormick, Landini, Case IH, New Holland, Merlo, Manitou, Kubota, Amazone, Suzuki and Polaris.

Datatag also provides a theft deterrent system for Land Rover and other 4x4’s. The success of this product has shown great recoveries and was very well received at the Country File Live show earlier this month.

Follow this simple checklist to help keep your farm vehicles safe.

  • Remove keys and lock cars. Don’t make it easy for thieves, even if you only leave your vehicle for a minute.

  • Keep gates to yards closed. Open gates can be an open invitation to thieves. If the gate’s unlocked, what else might be?

  • Fit CESAR marking systems. CESAR marking makes tractors, quads and other vehicles far less attractive to thieves.

  • Consider fitting immobilizer’s. Thieves target tractors with less security. But if they can’t start it, they can’t take it.

  • Have a Datatag 4x4 system installed on your 4x4. Stealing your vehicles is less profitable if a thief has to replace all the components.

  • Consider tracking devices. Fitting GPS trackers to more expensive vehicles and machinery means you’ll always know where they are. 

  • Physically secure ATVs. Heavy-duty security chains and padlocks will usually deter the opportunist.

  • Record machinery serial numbers. Providing serial numbers helps police and insurers recover stolen machines and bring criminals to justice.

  • Store equipment and vehicles out of sight. Equipment left in the yard, machinery left in fields – if it’s in view, it’s vulnerable.

Date Created: 21/08/2017

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