Rural crime on the rise in county

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OIL, diesel, power tools and tractors have been placed at the top of theives’ shopping lists in Lincolnshire.

Figures released yesterday in the NFU Mutual Rural Crime Suvey show agricultural thefts have risen by 61 per cent in the last year alone in the East Midlands, at a cost of about £9.7million.

Julie Parkin, an NFU Mutual agent in Spalding and NFU South Holland branch secretary, said: “One thing we encourage is to report crimes to the police.

“Some rural business owners may think what’s the point but they have an obligation through their insurance and the police can not help us unless we have these statistics.

“They can not put resources into this unless it is reported.”

Last week, 750 litres of red diesel was stolen from a farm in Whaplode St Catherine. Over the year, reported tractor thefts have included those in Shepeau Stow, Tydd Gote, Sutton Bridge, Crowland and Sutton St James.

The county is in-line with a nationwide trend where almost two thirds of NFU Mutual branches reported a rise in rural crime. The survey was based on the 2010 claims for crimes against homes, farms, commercial premises and vehicles.

PC Nic Hanson, crime prevention officer for Lincolnshire Police, said: “Many isolated farms and agricultural buildings are targeted by criminals because of their vulnerable location and lack of neighbours.

“Offences can range from highly organised burglaries involving the removal of expensive farm machinery down to opportunistic theft of any item that holds a scrap metal value such as tractor weights.

“Clearly it is important for farmers to take responsiblity for improving the level of security at their premises and we are working with the rural community to advise and support them in protecting themselves from crime.”