Farmers need greater protection from rural crime, the NFU has said, as National Rural Crime Action Week highlights the challenges rural businesses face.
This call for action follows months of collaboration between the NFU, government and other key industry organisations which led to the passing of the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act, aimed at deterring the theft of quads and ATVs. The NFU is now asking for the act to be expanded to include other agricultural equipment such as GPS systems.
Farm machinery theft is just one of many challenges farmers face nationwide, costing the UK £49 million in 2022 alone, according to NFU Mutual.
NFU Vice President David Exwood said: “Highly organised gangs of criminals have continued to plague the British countryside in recent years, stealing livestock, valuable farm machinery and expensive GPS equipment.
“We welcome the action government have taken to tackle hare coursing and ATV theft but urge the government to pass secondary legislation to widen the scope of the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act to include other equipment, such as larger machinery or GPS systems, and to fulfil its commitments on livestock worrying.
“Farms often double as family homes and small businesses and these crimes have a significant impact on farming families, both financially and emotionally, and have left many rural communities feeling vulnerable and intimidated.
“The creation of the National Rural Crime Unit is a positive step that the NFU has long asked for. We look forward to seeing the benefits of intelligence sharing and increased collaboration that it will bring and the NFU will continue to work with stakeholders and police forces to make the countryside a safer place.”