The cost of rural theft in Northern Ireland fell by close to 37% (an estimated £2.1million) last year.
The UFU said that while this is “positive”, NFU Mutual’s rural crime report highlights that thieves still targeted farmers during the pandemic.
Rural theft in Northern Ireland
UFU deputy president David Brown said:
“The impact of lockdown, thorough on-farm security and rural policing, has created a significant drop in relation to the cost of rural theft.”
“However, one farmer falling victim to rural crime is still one too many. Sadly, criminals continued to steal agriculture vehicles, livestock and equipment.”
“This time of the year is extremely busy for our members. We urge them to ensure their security is as tight as it possibly can be at all times and to be extra vigilant as restrictions continue to ease.”
“With so much going on, things can slip easily. What may seem like a small lapse can end up becoming a serious financial hit if farming machinery or animals are stolen.”
“Not to mention the toll it can take on the farmer’s mental health and how it can affect the entire family.”
Simple measures to help prevent rural theft:
- Check livestock regularly;
- Lock unused vehicles;
- Store equipment in secure sheds.
Fly-tipping and livestock worrying
As a result of COVID-19, farmers across Northern Ireland witnessed an increase in visitors to the countryside over the last year.
“It’s extremely disheartening that our farmers were not given the respect they deserve from some countryside visitors during the pandemic.”
“The rural landscape is there for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, a number of our members were left to clean rubbish off their land, which had the potential to harm livestock and the environment.”
“Others had the horrific experience of dealing with a worrying livestock attack.”
The UFU encourages members who experience rural theft, fly-tipping or livestock worrying to report it to the PSNI or local dog warden.
To help combat rural theft in Northern Ireland, NFU Mutual is providing additional support. NFU Mutual is providing funding worth £30,000 to help clamp down on rural theft.