'Agri-crime' increasing: insurer
Agricultural theft cost householders and businesses in rural areas an estimated £49.7 million last year, a rural insurer has said.
Figures from insurance company NFU Mutual showed that so-called "agri-crime" had risen by 17% in the past two years.
Two-thirds of the insurer's branches reported a rise in crime in 2010, and two in five said thieves were active in the countryside because it is difficult to police.
Items taken include tractors, heating oil, scrap metal and livestock, but those most commonly stolen were power tools such as chainsaws, electric drills and lawnmowers.
Lindsay Sinclair, chief executive of NFU Mutual, said: "Whether it's the recession, tighter security in towns, or the rise in oil, meat and scrap metal prices countryside people are feeling the blight of rural crime on their land."
She called for a "united front" against crime in rural areas.