ONE in three farms in the eastern region has been targeted by criminals over the past year, according to a new survey.
The NFU study reveals 35 per cent of farm businesses surveyed had experienced crime during the year – and a quarter of crimes go unreported.
Of those affected by crime, theft was the most common, with 28 per cent having one or more thefts of farm machinery, tools, fuel and metal.
NFU regional director Pamela Forbes said: “We are concerned, but sadly not surprised, that so many of our members have been affected in the past 12 months.
“However, the survey also shows the rural community is fighting back. It suggests about a third of our members are in farm watch schemes, with most of the schemes set up in the past five years.”
Others crimes reported included arson, animal feed theft and criminal damage. Metal theft and fly-tipping were among those least likely to be reported.