The cost of rural crime to farmers across Northamptonshire has been estimated at £680,000, new figures for the county have revealed.
The insurer NFU Mutual this week released its annual crime report, which revealed the total cost of agricultural thefts to farmers across the county during 2012.
The “top three” items targeted by thieves in Northamptonshire were oil and diesel, followed by power tools and then agricultural machinery.
Tractors and other heavy goods are often targeted by organised crime gangs and then shipped to the continent, where police have tracked them to Poland and other Eastern European countries.
The county figure, estimated at £680,000 between January and December 2012, comes despite a fall in the total cost of rural crime in the East Midlands.
The cost of rural crime across the UK was estimated at £42.3 million in 2012, compared to £52.7 million in 2011. Theft in the East Midlands is estimated at £4.4 million during the same period.
Local farmer Trevor Foss said: “Certainly we are all very worried about the theft of diesel and that if you leave a machine filled with diesel in a field it might not be there in the morning. But there has always been an under reporting on small claims because people might have a excess on their insurance of £100.”
Mr Foss said livestock rustlers have also struck farmer across the country. He added: “I am surprised there haven’t mentioned livestock, I know of sheep and cattle being stolen in the last year. Because of the cost of meat these days it does make it an obvious target.”
Grant Hattle, NFU Mutual Agent in the East Midlands, added: “Even though rural crime has fallen, much more still needs to be done to thwart rural criminals and minimise the devastating impact of crime in the countryside.
“We’re starting to see the benefits from communities working hard with the police and wider industry.”