Scottish rural crime up 12% as UK shows fall

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ALTHOUGH crime in rural areas has fallen across the UK by almost one-fifth, according to leading insurance company NFU Mutual Insurance Scotland recorded a rise of 12 per cent in the past year.

Agri-crime cost the farming industry £42.3 million, down 19.7 per cent from the previous year with significant falls in insurance claims for tractor theft – down 32 per cent – and quad bike losses – 17 per cent.

However, rustling of livestock continued to increase in importance, although nothing like the threefold rise recorded in the previous 12 months. Garden machinery enters the top ten targets for criminals, and joins farm tools, quad bikes and fuel among the favourite items for thieves.

The figures released yesterday as part of the mutual’s annual crime survey were collated from the 220 NFU offices throughout the UK. Matthew Scott, of the mutual, welcomed the drop in overall crime rates in country areas – especially following four years of increases, but warned: “There have been some worrying spikes in high-value tractors as well as a recent spate of tractor-mounted GPS guidance systems.”