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Rural criminals find new ways to target their victims

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The costs of rural crime are spiralling upward across Yorkshire, a new report has suggested.

In West Yorkshire in 2015, the cost to victims rose by almost 20 per cent to more than £1.4million.

The research by rural insurer NFU Mutual suggested that, as in so many other areas, criminals are adapting their tactics and those living in the countryside are increasingly likely to be targeted online.

Matthew Gummerson, an agent for NFU Mutual in West Yorkshire, said: “It is disappointing to see levels of rural crime rising. Rural thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated and using computers rather than bolt cutters to steal from farms and country properties.”

Farmers have been advised to keep their security systems up-to-date and remain vigilant to minimise the risk of falling victim to this new kind of offending.

In this area, reports of tractors being cloned and non-existent machinery being advertised in various agricultural publications proliferate.

That said, there are still many reports of more traditional crimes, such as quad bikes, 4x4s, tractors and agricultural equipment being stolen from premises in remote locations. Vandalism and theft of livestock are among the other more common offences.

“Our advice to people living and working in the countryside remains the same; evaluate your current security measures making improvements where necessary, remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the local police but also community watch schemes,” added Mr Gummerson.

West Yorkshire, with its large tracts of open countryside, is the fifth most targeted area of the UK when it comes to rural crime.

Lincolnshire tops the league table, with the cost of offences in the county soaring to £2.1million last year.

At Lester Morrill, our criminal law team has experience advising those facing a range of charges. For advice on all your options, please contact our Leeds-based solicitors today.