Criminals don’t care whose lives they ruin in the cities or the countryside - help us fight crime in rural areas. Not only does rural crime have a significant effect on the farming community, it also impacts towns and cities.

Assumptions are often made that crime doesn't happen in peaceful rural places. Rural areas are not all idyllic and serious crimes do take place in rural communities.  It is also not limited to farm crime. Crimes against property, crimes of violence, domestic violence, child abuse, trafficking and hate crimes all take place in rural communities.

Serious and organised crime groups are often linked to rural, heritage and wildlife crime particularly in relation to theft of agricultural machinery, hare-coursing and cannabis cultivation.

What is rural crime?

Any crime that affects those living, working or visiting rural areas of the UK is considered rural crime.

It covers a wide range of crimes but includes theft of machinery, vehicles, heating oil, metal, diesel and pesticides. Thieves are known to target high-value agricultural equipment and many top-of-the-range stolen vehicles are smuggled out of the country, ending up in eastern Europe. A new trend is emerging of criminals seeking out older models that are not fitted with immobilisers and alarms. Much of this stolen property is then sold to developing nations.

Criminals have also started focusing on pesticides from farm chemical stores. In one reported case, sprays worth £20,000 were stolen in a single raid.

Other crimes include:

  • Theft of livestock
  • Illegal waste sites and dumping
  • Burglary of farms, homes and business premises
  • Drug dealing and cannabis cultivation
  • Theft from churches and damage to graveyards and monuments
  • Poaching, hare-coursing and cruelty to animals - find out more about wildlife crime
  • Arson or criminal damage to fences and crops

Why are we focusing on rural crime?

Crime affecting rural communities should never be underestimated; it can have a knock-on effect on all of us.

Criminals generally target isolated areas and hard-to-protect buildings looking for easily sold items such as metal, gardening and agricultural machinery. By appealing for more eyes and ears across the countryside, raising awareness of the signs of rural crime and urging the public to contact our anonymous service, we can tackle these criminal gangs head on.

Tackling metal theft in rural communities

We are working together with Northern Powergrid

Metal theft is a blight on the rural community. We are working closely with Northern Powergrid to tackle metal theft. Dave Hunter, Crimestoppers North East Regional Manager, talks to our partner.

What can you do to tackle rural crime?

  • Don’t ignore suspicious or unusual activity.
  • Always call 999 if a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.
  • Don’t leave vehicles or buildings unlocked.
  • Keep expensive machinery and vehicles out of sight.
  • Mark machinery, plants and vehicles in a bright colour to make them more distinguishable.
  • Fit tracker devices to vehicles and get machinery security marked.
  • Do not leave valuables in parked cars.
  • Join Farm, Country and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
  • You can make a difference to your rural community.

If you have information on rural crime that has taken place in your community, or you know who is responsible for crime in your area, contact us anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use our Anonymous Online Form to pass on information.

Why contact Crimestoppers?

If you have information about rural crime but feel unable to tell the Police, you can contact us anonymously.

  • We never ask for your name or take any personal details.
  • We don't trace or record your call or online form.
  • You won't have to go onto give a statement to Police or go to court.
  • In over 29 years, we have never broken our promise of anonymity.
  • Over 1,000 people contact us every day which leads to around 17 arrests per day.
  • You can make a difference and tell us about rural crime.

Hear more about what Crimestoppers is and what we do