Whether it’s large-scale, industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, theft or arson, rural crime has a devastating effect on farms and other rural businesses.
In particular, fly-tipping and the dumping of hazardous waste is on the increase, its an issue that affects two-thirds of all farmers. When an incident of fly-tipping occurs on private land, it is the landowner’s responsibility to remove the illegally dumped waste, at their own cost and effort. As well as implications on landowners, it can be dangerous to human health, wildlife and livestock, particularly if waste is dumped on land accessed by the public. In some cases fly-tipping it can pollute watercourses and contaminate land.
On a different note, a recent press release by NFU Mutual reports that Livestock worrying has risen by 15% in England. Wales has seen a decrease in cases but overall livestock worrying costs the rural sector £1.2m per annum. This confirms farmers’ fears that a significant number of dog owners are letting their dogs roam free unsupervised. The NFU Mutual is launching a new campaign urging dog owners to keep their pets under control at all times when livestock could be nearby.
Rural crime is a major problem for all rural areas, unfortunately rural theft has changed from the opportunist theft of a sheep to gang rustlers steeling a whole flock, which is often not a onetime event but a regular occurrence. Gangs of thieves take advantage of a farms’ isolated location, the NFU mutual has reported a sharp rise in the theft of tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles. North Wales Police are committed to reducing crime, they have created a Rural Security Checklist with the intention being to reduce the possibility of those in the rural areas becoming a victim of rural crime.
Without stating the obvious who should you contact if you’re a victim of rural crime? It goes without saying that for all urgent crimes, for example crimes that are in progress call 999. For none urgent crimes, which are reported after the event call 101.
The NFU partners with Crime stoppers to offer the Rural Crime hotline. Contact the dedicated Rural Crime Hotline on 0800 783 0137 to provide information anonymously or submit information online at www.ruralcrimehotline.co.uk
Are you aware of the free property registration service Immobilise.com. Immobilise is a free online register of possession ownership where you can record the serial number of your goods. Teamed together with the Police’s NMPR they form a very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to their rightful owners.
And finally, Dr Kreseda Smith, a rural criminologist at Harper Adams University in Shropshire is conducting research on how crime affects a farmer’s mental health and looking at the stress related implications of rural crime. If you are over 18, have been the victim of rural crime in the last 12 months, and have fifteen minutes to spare before the 11th March Dr Smith would be grateful for your contribution to the Survey of Psychological Impact of Rural Crime.