Coronavirus crisis fuels rise in livestock rustling and theft of smaller items
'Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “The main driver is organised criminal gangs targeting the countryside. Ten years ago they caught on to the fact that farm machinery is worth tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds and there is a very strong market for it overseas.” Over the past few weeks, NFU Mutual has recovered a mini-excavator in France and a quad bike in Lithuania, both of which were stolen in the UK.'
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Rural crime jumped to an eight-year high last year as criminal gangs stole UK farm equipment to sell overseas. Figures from insurer NFU Mutual show that rural crime cost the UK £54m in 2019, a 9 per cent rise on the previous year. The insurer warned that this year’s figures would be affected by the coronavirus crisis, which has sparked an increase in livestock rustling and the theft of some types of equipment.