Agricultural Crime in the South West
23rd October 2020
The South West is the largest and most rural region in England, covering 10% of the UKs land mass with almost three quarters of its entire area (1.8 million hectares) devoted to agriculture. With the South West contributing in-excess of 20% of National Agricultural turnover of £4 billion and employing over 60,000 people, it is a major contributor to our local and regional economy. Sadly, it is also an area highly targeted by criminals with a higher than average crime rate figure associated with the sector. 2019 saw a 14% increase in reported crimes up from of 9% the previous year which puts the South West amongst the top areas to be affected by Agricultural Crime.
The NFU’s Rural Crime report found that the cost of rural crime reached £54 million in 2019, its highest level for eight years, with organised criminal gangs targeting high value tractors, quad bikes, and large numbers of livestock.
The very nature of farms and rural properties make them highly susceptible to targeted crime. They are often-isolated locations, and their open boundaries make them easy targets for theft and vandalism.
In addition to this, every year in the UK on average, around 1600 farm buildings are destroyed by fire. Of these fires, approximately 40% are started deliberately, often the result of mindless vandalism or arson.
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