FRESH figures have revealed a rise in rural crime cost the West Midlands £4.5m last year.
According to insurer NFU Mutual’s annual Rural Crime Survey, the nationwide cost of rural crime totalled an estimated £44.5m in 2013 – a rise of 5.2%.
The most common items targeted by thieves in the West Midlands over the last 12 months were tools, quad bikes and fuel such as domestic heating oil and farmers’ supplies of ‘red’ diesel.
More than half of staff interviewed from hundreds of NFU Mutual offices in rural communities around the country also said they’d seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen.
Although high-value thefts may be planned and highly organised, the number of stolen garden tools and ornaments indicates opportunist thieves continue to target gardens and outbuildings.
The cost of rural crime in Shropshire also rose by almost half (45%) in 2013 – costing the local economy an estimated £1m.
Simon Latter, NFU Mutual Branch Manager in Shrewsbury, said: “Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of Shropshire clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback – it can be devastating for businesses and families.
“One of the rural community’s best assets is its people who can work together to safeguard the local neighbourhood. That is why NFU Mutual organises the Country Crime Fighters Awards, a nationwide competition to support and encourage fantastic examples of crime prevention taking place in the countryside.
“You can enter or nominate someone on our website.”
For more information visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime