NFU Mutual has warned of a rise in rural crime in the first half of 2022 as its latest report into the issue is revealed.

Rural crime cost Herefordshire farmers an estimated £510,000 in 2021, which was down 24 per cent on 2020, according to the latest statistics from NFU Mutual.

However, claims indications show a rise in the cost of rural crime towards the end of 2021 in Herefordshire, the South West and in England as a whole.

Initial indications from the insurer also reveal the first quarter of 2022 has seen thieves making up for time lost over the pandemic, with UK costs over 40 per cent higher than the same period last year.


The surge follows a UK-wide drop of 9.3 per cent to £40.5m in 2021.

NFU Mutual claims data from the first half of this year indicates the frequency and cost of fuel theft claims have more than doubled compared to the same period in 2021.

In a new poll of the rural community by NFU Mutual, almost half of respondents (49 per cent) said that fuel theft was now their greatest crime concern.

Rebecca Davidson, rural affairs specialist for NFU Mutual said: "The first quarter of 2022 suggests a worrying return to pre-pandemic crime levels.

"Security measures, rural crime initiatives, quieter roads and community vigilance have all played their part in suppressing countryside crime in the past two years.

"However, now is not the time for complacency."

With the exponential rise in the cost of petrol, diesel and heating oils, farmers are being warned to increase their security.

Matthew Price, agent at NFU Mutual Ross-On-Wye, said: "We’re advising rural people to review their security, to help prevent crime and disruption.

"Crime in the countryside causes high levels of anxiety and disruption, with many farmers and rural homeowners feeling vulnerable due to their isolated location.

"The knowledge that determined thieves are scouring the countryside looking for targets, and returning to carry out night-time raids, leads to sleepless nights for many in remote areas."