Farmers in Fife, Scotland have been told to be vigilant when securing farm machinery following the theft of three tractors in March alone.
There has been a spike in rural crime in the Fife area. The beginning of March has seen three tractors stolen, which is on top of the significant increase seen in the area over the last three months.
Local farmers are now being encouraged to be 'extremely vigilant and cautious' when locking up their farm machinery and property, and are reminded to secure their property and spread the word of any suspicious vehicles or activities
NFU Scotland said the spike in rural crime in Fife is 'extremely worrying'. The union is working with the police to find a solution.
Kate Maitland, NFU Scotland East Central Regional Manager, said: “Whether it’s the theft of machinery or livestock, or the deeply frustrating scourge of fly tipping, rural crime has a huge impact on its victims with the inconvenience and emotional costs almost impossible to fully quantify or cover.
“We are advising members in the area to be extra precautious when securing any vehicles, machinery and property when left unattended.
“This would include locking all appropriate doors and entrances, making sure all keys to vehicles are locked away and keeping all vehicles and machinery out of obvious sight.
She added: “Prevention is the best tool we have. The installation of even a basic security system, such as a motion-activated camera directed towards the fuel tank, can be enough to send the opportunistic criminal along the track.”
“Social media also plays a huge part. The ability to share images and details of potentially suspicious activity has been utilised by many countryside dwellers,” Ms Maitland said.
Rural crime cost the countryside an estimated £44.5m in 2017, leading farmers to combine “medieval security with high-tech solutions” to protect their farms.
In its 2018 Rural Crime Report, NFU Mutual looked at the impact that crime is having on rural communities up and down the UK.
With an increase of 13.4% on the previous year, rural crime is rising at its fastest rate since 2010.
• Thieves are increasingly cloning the identity of tractors to make detection more difficult
• The cost of agricultural vehicle theft claims to NFU Mutual rose to £5.9m in 2017, an increase of £500,000 from 2016
• Thieves are stealing small, older tractors to export to third world countries as well as expensive large models