Costs of rural thefts increase in the West Country

Rural crimes cost the West Country £5.6million in 2016. Credit: ITV West Country

New figures released today, 14 August, reveal that despite a 4% drop in the number of crimes last year, the cost of rural theft has risen in the first half of 2017.

In the West Country, rural crime cost to £5.3million, rising to £5.6million in 2016.

The report was released by the National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance company, who also say they have seen an increase in cost claims of over 20% in the first half of this year.

Local farmer, Tom Newth, has been farming in Somerset for generations. So when over 70 of his Charollais sheep were stolen earlier this year, he told ITV West Country, it had a big impact.

Farmers have taken up different methods in an attempt to solve rural crime, with some saying they want to turn their homes into fortresses.

Others have merely praised a joint initiative in Avon & Somerset, called the Rural Crime Forum. It was set up five years ago and links the police with farmers, landowners, young farmers and also unions.

Robert Killen, Chairman of the Rural Crime Forum. Credit: ITV West Country
Supt. Mike Prior, Rural Crime Lead for Avon and Somerset Police. Credit: ITV West Country
Tom Newth says he is not Credit: ITV West Country

Tom Newth says he is not "beaten" by the thieves, as he counts his blessings including the success his prize-winning animals have brought him at this summer’s agricultural shows.