Urging farmers to turn their farmyards into fortresses to protect diesel and fertiliser from thieves, amid high prices, NFU Mutual yesterday said that the combination of high prices and shortages could lead to a surge in farmers’ red diesel tanks and fertiliser stores becoming targets for theft.
The Mutual said that despite reductions in fuel duty following the Chancellor’s Spring Statement last week, white diesel was still costing over £1.75 a litre at many service stations and farmers were chasing supplies of red diesel- which has itself do8uble din price over the past year - to keep their tractors working the fields.
Fertiliser prices have increased up to four-fold in the last year said Rebecca Davidson Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual who added that supplies had dried up as high gas prices made it uneconomic for manufacturers to keep production going.
“While some farmers are unable to get hold of fertiliser and others are refusing to order stocks at current prices, others who bought early have increasingly valuable stocks in their farm buildings,” said Davidson.
“Together the price rises and shortages are threatening future food supplies – but making stored fuel and fertiliser a major temptation for thieves at the same time. It’s making future planning a nightmare for farmers.
She said that over the years criminals had reacted very quickly to target goods which had become expensive and in short supply – and added that fuel thefts had been reported to police across the country.