As the UK’s leading rural insurer, looking after our rural communities is central to what we do.

Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds and causes untold anxiety across the UK, which is why NFU Mutual analyses its claims data annually to asses the state of crime in rural communities.

Identifying trends in the number of thefts and what cost that has on the UK economy, our claims data and expertise gives us a unique insight into rural crime trends across the country and over the long-term. 

The 2015 data reveals that the cost of rural crime to the UK has reached £42.5 million.

Whilst only costing slightly more than last year (0.4%) it is still disappointing as the cost in 2014 had reduced from that in 2013.

But despite little change overall, regionally, there are still winners and losers in the war on rural crime.


Headline findings for 2015

  • Rural theft cost an estimated £42.5m in the UK during 2015 - a slight increase (0.4%) from 2014.
  • The worst affected regions remain the North East and East of England, costing £7.9 and £6.9 million. Whereas the Midlands and Northern Ireland saw the biggest rises, on 2014, with costs increasing by 10% and 13%.
  • Scotland and the South East however saw positive reductions of 6% and 9%. Scotland also has the lowest cost or rural crime, £1.7 million, closely followed by Wales, costing £2 million.
  • Tractors proved particularly vulnerable in the East and North East of England where a spate of high value thefts occurred and accounted for almost half of the total cost across the UK.
  • The costs of quad bike (ATV) theft saw a 6% reduction, with Scotland seeing an impressive 40% drop following a large scale initiative to provide specialist training to affected police forces.
  • Livestock rustling remains a huge problem with costs stubbornly high in Northern Ireland and the North East and South West of England. At a total cost to the UK of £2.9 million, 70% came from these three regions alone.
  • Equine tack and equipment thefts have reduced by 41% – a huge reduction seen across almost every region. This is testament to Horse Watch Schemes now in operation across the UK.

Based on claims experience over the previous 12 months, NFU Mutual agencies were asked to rank the items which were most commonly targeted by thieves in their area. Results were totalled across the whole country to reveal a UK-wide top ten.

Top five targeted items nationally: Top five types of crime nationally:
1. ATV / Quad Bikes 1. Vehicle theft
2. Machinery 2. Burglary
3. Farm and commercial tools 3. Rural Business Theft
4. Garden equipment 4. Livestock Theft
5. Livestock 5. Vandalism