Rural Crime Prevention
The Rural Crime Reporting Line is part of the NFU’s ongoing work to tackle the serious issues surrounding criminal behaviour on farms and in the wider countryside.
By ringing 0800 783 0137 or visiting the website farmers, rural businesses and the public can anonymously give information about crime relating to:
- large-scale, industrial fly-tipping
- hare coursing
- machinery theft; or
- livestock theft
How easy would it be to gain access to your premises, outbuilding, sheds, tack rooms and farmhouses unseen?
Are your locks adequate - could they be forced?
Can horseboxes, trailers or vehicles be removed without you hearing?
Could you describe or identify stolen property if it were recovered?
Do you have surveillance and security lighting?
The advice on this page suggests some ways in which those in rural communities can protect themselves and their property from crime.
It's not just those who live and work in rural communities who can do their bit. Many of us visit the countryside to appreciate the wildlife, countryside surroundings and historic buildings and we can all help preserve these areas. Take your litter home with you, always keep dogs under control in the countryside and on leads when around livestock, be careful to drive vehicles on authorised roads and do not take vehicles or motorbikes off road unless on a Byway Open to all Traffic (BOaT) which is not subject to a Traffic Regulation Order.
Machinery, tools and plant equipment
- If possible, secure or immobilise vehicles or pieces of equipment when they're not in use. Again, if practical, try to move machinery from fields, especially if it's near a road. Always keep tools etc., locked away out of sight.
To help identify your property:
- Use engravers to mark vehicles and equipment with your postcode, followed by the first two letters of your farm's name.
- Keep a record of serial, chassis and model numbers.
- Mark machinery and plant equipment with CESAR vehicle marking scheme.
- Record tools and valuable equipment on systems such as Immobilise
Fuel and oil theft
- With the price of crude oil rising, oil theft is becoming increasingly common. For advice on how to reduce this in your area, please visit our fuel and oil theft page.
- Animals can be an easy target for thieves. Regularly check the fields where your animals are grazing.
- Keep your hedges, fences and gates in good repair. Field gate hinges should have capping hinges so they can't be removed easily. Cattle grids should be removable and locked out of position when they're not in use. Use locking posts to obstruct large openings to yards, etc.
- Consider installing CCTV.
- If livestock is stolen it's important for you to be able to give the police an accurate description. Eartags and horn brands help police to identify stock. Freeze branding, hot branding or tattooing your postcode will also help. Always take photographs of especially valuable animals.
- Where fields adjoin roads with no physical barrier consider digging a defensive ditch or bund to prevent access.
- Farmhouses can be targeted by burglars because they are often large and in isolated areas. Fit British Standard deadlocks to all outside doors and always use them. These can also be reinforced with bolts. The main door should have a security chain and wide-angle door viewer, so you can see who is on the other side. Consider installing a burglar alarm. Fit window locks on all ground floor windows.
- Keep all access gates shut and locked overnight. Use capped hinges or invert one of the gudgeons to prevent gates being lifted off.
- Keep shotguns and firearms in a securely locked place. Always store ammunition separately.
- If you have to keep cash or jewellery in the house, put it in a quality safe.
- Keep a record of all valuable possessions.
- Whenever possible, use a security marking device to mark them with your postcode followed by the first two letters of your farm's name. Forensic marking fluid such as Selectamark DNA, Datatag or Smartwater can be applied as invisible property marking. Take photos of valuable items next to a ruler (to indicate scale).
- Never show opportunist burglars you're not there by leaving notes for traders, etc. When you're away ask a neighbour to keep an eye on the property.
- Consider installing CCTV and security lighting around the property.
- Store any valuable equipment and tools in a secure building with a well-built, locked door. Use British Standard locks, good quality locking bars and high security padlocks. Windows can be protected with metal bars. Always lock outbuildings when they're not in use.
- A worthwhile investment is fitting outside security lights controlled by an automatic time-switch or infra-red beams.
- Again, consider installing CCTV and security lighting around the property.
- Prevent vehicle access to outbuildings with gates or ground posts.
- Make sure your insurance cover is adequate. Check with your insurance company that you are fully covered for vehicles, equipment and livestock, etc, as well as for the contents of buildings. Check whether your insurance company offers discounts for using specific security devices.
For further information and advice you can talk to your local Wildlife and Rural Crime Officer by calling 101.
If a crime is currently in progress always call 999.