Rural crime has no set definition, however it can be very broadly classified as any crime and anti-social behaviour occurring in rural areas.

Rural crime is often linked to Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) who target and exploit rural communities across a range of crime types, for example organised plant theft, livestock theft, burglaries targeting firearms, poaching and hare coursing.

The NPCC (National Police Chiefs Council) has developed a Rural Affairs Strategy which sets out police priorities in this area:

  • Farm machinery, plant and vehicle theft - including quad bikes, modern and vintage tractors, tools and equipment from outbuildings
  • Livestock offences - including theft, worrying and attacks
  • Fuel theft - including heating oil, diesel and petrol
  • Equine crime - including horse trailer and horse box theft, horse theft, tack theft, fly grazing and neglect
  • Fly tipping - including household and commercial waste, waste through organised criminality
  • Poaching which crosses over with the wildlife priorities - including hare coursing, deer poaching, fish poaching.
  • Heritage crime - It is also important to recognise that rural crime and antisocial behaviour have an adverse impact on the historic environment and heritage assets found across the United Kingdom - including the theft of metal from church buildings, unlawful metal detecting and interference with historic shipwrecks.

At Neighbourhood Watch, we want to raise awareness of rural crime across our networks.  We feel it is vitally important that rural and farming communities should highlight the issues that they deal with and how Neighbourhood Watch can help.

We have joined together with regional leads and national charities, including the National Farmers Union, National Rural Crime Network, Countryside Alliance, Country Land and Business Association, Historic England and the Wildlife Trusts to highlight rural crime.  By raising awareness of the issues faced by these communities, we can help with identifying and reporting any suspicious instances.

The most recent Rural Crime Survey results from NFU Mutual can be found here and a report from National Farmers Union can be found here.

NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2021:

NFU Levelling Up Britain’s Report:

The cost of Rural Crime has been rising over the past few years. The figures in the picture relate to statistics from the NFU and are rounded up to the nearest £100,000.

The cost of rural crime