Headlines for smallholders
Quiet and peaceful it may be a lot of the time, but unfortunately the countryside is not immune from crime. In fact, rural crime is on the increase, which has led the NFU to call for prompt, effective action to deal with it. A survey shows that the proportion of businesses experiencing agriculturerelated crime and anti-social behaviour has risen since 2013:
35% of businesses experienced trespassing or unauthorised access of land or buildings;
26% of businesses experienced poaching, hare coursing or illegal hunting;
23% of businesses experienced quad biking or use of other vehicles on their land;
15% of businesses experienced livestock worrying.
In its Rural Crime Report, the NFU called on authorities to ensure a dedicated rural police team in each force and for the government to bring together a cross-departmental taskforce to address failures in tackling crime.
NFU deputy president Guy Smith said: “These new figures will come as no surprise to farmers who often feel in a state of siege from the criminal fraternity. Every day the NFU hears from its members about this rural blight that has a seriously detrimental effect on lives and businesses.”