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Rural theft in Devon cost over £7m last year
5:48pm Tuesday 7th August 2012 in News
RURAL theft in Devon and the rest of South West England cost around £7.6m last year, shocking new figures have revealed.
According to rural insurer NFU Mutual, the UK-wide cost of ‘agri-crime’ shot up by 6% to an estimated £52.7 million in 2011.
Tools, quad bikes and metals were among the items most commonly targeted by thieves.
But evidence has emerged suggesting that Devon people are getting ever more creative in the lengths they will go to deter criminals. Some of the improvised defences used by NFU Mutual members include keeping geese to alert homeowners of intruders, storing quad bikes in a pen behind a Friesian bull or housing louder and more aggressive animals such as llamas in with other livestock.
The survey suggests prevention is better than cure, with branches believing high-tech security measures like CCTV and tracker devices, as well as physical security measures such as locks and alarms, are more effective than a greater police presence or tougher sentencing for criminals.
Jeremy Atkins, NFU Mutual agent in Crediton, said: “You can save a lot of money and heartache by taking steps to prevent crime from happening in the first place rather than recovering items after the event.
“It’s all about taking small steps to make life much harder for rural criminals. You don’t have to break the bank with high-tech security measures. Making sure your property is well lit, marking valuable items with smart water and working with local police and community groups are cheap yet effective alternatives to deter thieves.”
According to the survey theft of metals and chemicals has become a growing trend over the last year. NFU Mutual believes chemicals are now being targeted by organised gangs who ship them abroad to meet demand across Europe.