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South Lakes MP Tim Farron and Lib Dem Crime Spokesperson Cllr. Pru Jupe have called for more action to be taken to tackle Rural Crime, after new statistics released yesterday revealed it cost UK agriculture £52.7 million last year.
The report by NFU Mutual showed a 6% rise in the cost of agri-crime, despite a fall in the number of tractor thefts in England and Wales.
The report found that thieves have moved their attention to livestock, diesel and metal thefts. According to a Farmers Guardian investigation more than 67,000 sheep were stolen in the UK in 2011, costing farmers in the region of £6m.
The report also highlighted the problem of metal theft in the Countryside. Metal theft is being carried out on such a large scale that even an 11% per drop in tractor theft has not made a major dent in the statistics.
Pru Jupe said: “We are very lucky to live in a county with a low level of crime. However, that doesn't mean we have no crime, as sadly far too many local farms and businesses can testify. I want to see Cumbria Police taking the lead and pioneering strategies to tackle the increasing costs of rural crime.”
Tim Farron added: “This report is very worrying. Rural crime can seem relatively trivial, but it has a devastating impact on local people’s lives. I am calling for detailed statistics on rural crime to be published, to make sure we can monitor this concerning increase. The Farmwatch scheme, together with initiatives using Smartwater and Datatag, are helping to deter criminals, but there is more than can and must be done.”