Countryside Crime

Rural Surveyor Jack Denning-James looks at how farmers and countryside communities can tackle the menace of rural theft.

Countryside Crime

It’s widely reported that farmers and landowners across the country are targets for organised crime groups and opportunistic thieves, whether it be for machinery, red diesel, livestock or anything else of value. In the past year, dogs can be added to the list.

Although many crimes decreased during the pandemic, agricultural machinery thefts stayed constant – especially all-terrain vehicles. Many thefts are carried out by international organised crime groups, so the items are whisked out of the UK often within hours of being stolen.

In an ironic twist, several stolen items (particularly GPS equipment and smaller pieces) are then sold back into the UK by these crime groups. We might as well offer the original thief money not to steal anything!

For those who discover they’ve been the victim of a theft of machinery or other equipment from their business, it can be overwhelming. There has long been the perception that police forces have not taken rural crime seriously but, we hope, this is changing.

The criminals are organised and you must be too. If it happens too often, your insurance company may increase your premium – so you’re hit more than once.

What can you do?

  • Cover the basics – lighting, guard dogs and alarms are good deterrents.
  • CCTV is worth considering, but organised criminals will conceal their identity.
  • Forensic marking of machinery is worthwhile.
  • Avoid drawing attention to your belongings on social media – that post of you and the dogs on a quad bike is a great way to attract criminals!
  • Ensure that you’re live and deadstock valuations are up to date. If the worst does happen you don’t want to find that you are under-insured. Keep an eye on results from our Agricultural Sales to gauge current values. 

Symonds & Sampson offer valuation for a variety of purposes, including insurance. To discuss whether your assets are adequately covered, contact Jack at our Devizes office on 01380 710535 or one of our Rural Agents in your nearest office. 

This article is taken from our Award-winning inhouse magazine 'Country Matters'. Find a digital version here, or pop into your nearest office to collect a copy. It's a great read! 

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