Police car with flashing blue lights, behind police tape


How NFU Mutual is Fighting Rural Crime


As the insurer of three-quarters of the UK’s farms, we have a wealth of experience dealing with farmers’ theft claims. As a mutual insurer which seeks to support its members as well as insure them, we have developed a range of initiatives and tips to help farmers protect themselves from criminal attacks.

Monitoring and understanding rural crime statistics is key in our crime prevention strategy. As the UK’s leading rural insurer our claims statistics provide a good reference for both the scale and cost of rural crime and are used by Government and police forces to shape the way they tackle it. Alongside this, we have invested over £1.5m in funding since 2010 to support a number of rural police initiatives including;

  • Our partnership with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS). This is our primary police initiative which has been running on a daily basis since 2010 and helps assess the national picture of vehicle thefts in rural communities by identifying emerging trends and organised crime groups. We provide intelligence and support to law enforcement partners nationally and internationally, in order to prevent the theft, disposal or export of stolen vehicles and aid in the recovery of those identified as stolen.
    The partnership also promotes theft prevention awareness in rural communities and has successfully deployed a fleet of 'bait' vehicles that has led to numerous arrests and prosecutions.
  • PANIU (or the Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit), an organisation established by the police in 2008. We have been one of the insurer stakeholder sponsors of this initiative since 2011, with a primary role of targeting and dismantling organised criminal networks engaged in plant and agricultural vehicle theft across the UK. The unit has had considerable success, recovering hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and making many arrests.
  • SPARC (or the Scotland Partnership Against Rural Crime), a successful Scotland-wide rural police initiative that helps train officers and coordinate theft recoveries by establishing working partnerships between rural stakeholders and police forces. 
  • The ‘Ewe Hostels’ scheme, which provides housing for livestock seized by police as evidence in sheep rustling cases – helping bring livestock rustlers to justice.
  • NFU Mutual’s Risk Management Services, which help farmers protect their farmyards and fields from rural crime.

Our agricultural vehicle security specialist, Clive Harris, works tirelessly with police, tractor manufacturers and border forces, in addition to touring agricultural shows, to help farmers find the right security measures to protect their farms.

Our long experience of dealing with rural crime shows that thieves don’t give up – they constantly seek new targets and ways to get around security measures. This means farmers face an ongoing battle to stay one step ahead of thieves – however using our expertise we can help them protect their farms, livestock and families. By proactively taking measures to prevent criminal activity, together we can help tackle rural crime.