One in five Welsh farmers victims of crime last year

The survey also shone a light on the preventative measures farmers have taken in the last five years
The survey also shone a light on the preventative measures farmers have taken in the last five years

One in five Welsh farmers were victims of crime last year, according to a survey of 2,000 farmers across the country.

The survey highlighted that over half of those rural crimes in Wales last year (52%) were theft, almost a third (29%) involved trespass and 16% were fly tipping.

Of those farmers who had found themselves victims of crime, 10% had been targeted on more than one occasion in the last year.

Nearly one-quarter (24%) said that the financial loss to their business as a result of those incidents was in excess of £1,000.

The survey, by NFU Cymru, also shone a light on the measures farmers have taken in the last five years to deter criminals and secure their machinery, tools and stock.

Over half of those farmers questioned stated that they had upgraded building security and routinely removed equipment from vehicles overnight.

However, many farmers had gone to further lengths to protect their livelihoods, with 35% saying they had installed CCTV on farm and almost 30% said they had blocked field entrances.

In fact, well over one-quarter (31%) of farmers stated that they had invested at least £1,000 in crime prevention measures in the last five years.

NFU Cymru said the findings underlined why it was important that candidates in the 6 May Police and Crime Commissioner elections committed to tackling rural crime.

The union's president John Davies said: “The statistics from our survey are all the more disturbing when you consider that they are drawn from a year when the nation was largely ‘locked down’ due to coronavirus restrictions.

"We must not forget that the data in these findings is more than a number - it represents a farmer and a business that has experienced a loss or an illegal disturbance.

"As a farm is so often a home as well as a place of work, it makes it doubly unsettling for those families who find themselves subject to incidents of crime."

Just over half (55%) of the survey's respondents reported the crimes that had taken place on their farms.

Mr Davies said it was 'absolutely vital' that farmers reported incidents and suspicious activity 'no matter how insignificant they may seem.'

"Our industry has a role to play in ensuring that police forces have an accurate picture of the level of rural crime in their patch," he said.

It comes as the Welsh government will appoint an all-Wales Rural and Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator to tackle rural crime in the country.