'It's a massive issue': Rural crime impact in the East revealed in new National Farmers' Union survey

  • Watch this report by ITV Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

The impact of rural crime on families and farms across the East has been revealed in a new survey from the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

Hundreds of people from across the region took part with some describing the crime as an additional tax on their business because they have had to spend money on security.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

In the past year, Bill Baker has had £60,000 worth of equipment stolen from his farm near Bury St Edmunds.

He has since had to change his way of working by putting gates on the farm entrance, locking the vehicles up every night and installing CCTV.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

Bill was one of 340 people in East Anglia to take part in an NFU survey to assess the impact rural crime is having on the community.

The most common crimes reported in the survey included hare coursing, fly-tipping and theft. The average financial loss per farm being just over £5,000.

The NFU says many farmers appreciate the efforts of the police but feel their rural teams are underfunded and under-resourced.

Credit: ITV News Anglia

Suffolk police says its team of four rural crime officers engage regularly with farmers and landowners.

They also train other officers on issues such as hare coursing and hunting to broaden the force's understanding of this type of crime.

Nearly two-thirds of farmers in the region have reported putting extra security measures in place, locking field entrances, digging ditches around fields.

This is not only to protect their business but also their livelihood.