The cost of rural theft fell by 37% in Northern Ireland in 2020
The cost of rural flying in Northern Ireland is said to have fallen dramatically over the past year during the pandemic.
However, farmers have been warned not to be complacent as thieves are expected to come back with new tactics.
As recently as last week, police warned of a “slight increase” in burglaries of sheds and outhouses in Antrim.
According to figures released today (Tuesday, August 3) by rural insurer NFU Mutual, rural flight costs in the region have fallen by nearly 37% to reach a low. £ 2.1million in 2020.
Farm vehicles, tools, and livestock were among the items most likely to go missing from NI farms.
However, on the other hand, other crimes such as dog attacks on farm animals and the dumping of flies have skyrocketed as animal ownership and country visits increase.
The trend has spread to the rest of the UK, in its Rural Crime Report released today, NFU Mutual found that rural theft cost the entire UK around $ 43.3 million of pounds sterling in 2020.
The figure represented a 20.3% drop compared to the previous year, making it the lowest annual cost recorded in five years.
50% higher cost of dog attacks
Data on claims from NFU Mutual, however, also showed the cost of dog attacks on sheep and cattle increased by 50% across the UK in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same. period last year.
This coincides with a 10.2% increase in the number of dog attacks, suggesting that when attacks do occur, more beasts are injured or killed.
NFU Mutual Director for Northern Ireland, Martin Malone, explained this year that NFU Mutual is investing a Additional £ 30,000 in the fight against rural crime in Northern Ireland.
“Coronavirus restrictions, dedicated rural policing and increased security on farms allowed for a welcome drop in rural theft last year,” he said.
“While the lockdown may have excluded some criminals from the countryside, rural crime has not gone away. Thieves now return armed with new tactics and targets.
“As the economic impact of the pandemic looms large, we are very concerned that rural theft may escalate significantly.
“There is no doubt that when we work with the police, rural communities, the Ulster Farmers’ Union and other rural organizations to tackle rural crime, it can make a real difference. This is why we are working closely with the Rural Crime Partnership in Northern Ireland and funding measures to help protect our members’ property with security markings.
“We believe this is vital support as rural crime is not just about money to replace stolen tractors. It causes disruption, seriously affects the mental well-being of farmers and destroys the confidence that allows rural communities to thrive.
“With more and more people using the campaign, we are urging the public to support farmers and rural communities by reporting sightings and suspicious crimes to the police. ”
UFU Vice President David Brown added: “As the overall cost of rural theft in Northern Ireland has fallen, one farmer victim of rural crime is still too many and unfortunately the criminals have persisted. to rob the farming community throughout the global pandemic.
“Farmers have so much on their plate and this time of year is one of the busiest times on the farming calendar, but we ask members not to let their security slip or become complacent.
“Regularly checking livestock, making sure unused vehicles are locked, equipment is stowed and sheds are secure are just a few simple steps that can help prevent theft in rural areas.
“We welcome funding from NFU Mutual to help tackle rural theft in Northern Ireland and look forward to rolling out plans so farmers can get the most out of them.”