People living in rural Surrey and Hampshire are increasingly being targeted by criminals
They cost our counties more than £2 million last year and it is on the rise.
In Surrey, it was worth £560,000 in 2014, up from £410,000 the year before.
Hampshire was hit to the tune of £1.7 million, an increase on the previous year when the figure was £970,000.
It is mainly thieves taking things like tools and machinery.
Worryingly, the NFU, which compiled the figures, says our two counties are struggling whilst rural crime is actually falling across the UK.
The national figure is down 15 per cent.
Richard Buer, NFU Mutual Senior Agent in Hampshire, said: “It is disappointing to see levels of rural crime rising in Hampshire and Surrey, especially when there has been a decline nationally.
“Initiatives aimed at reducing livestock theft and installing CESAR tracking on agricultural vehicles are having a real impact across the country and making life increasingly difficult for rural criminals.
“But the figures in this area underscore the message that criminals will move to take advantage of weaknesses and rural communities should remain vigilant and put security at the forefront of their minds.”
Surrey plant hire owner calling for greater security at ports
In March this year Axtell Plant Hire had one of their diggers swiped by thieves.
The Takeuchi Cab Excavator was taken late at night and now owner of the business Roy Axtell believes it is abroad.
Police launched an investigation searching for the machine, worth £55,000, and Roy put a post on Facebook that was shared over 700 times.
However, despite these things, and the fact the digger was fitted with a tracking device, it has not been found.
The tracking device on the cab would have been disabled, once it was taken.
Now, Roy has upped the security at Axtell and has not had anything stolen since.
Although, he is not surprised rural crime is on the rise in Surrey and Hampshire as he says machinery is an easy target as it is high value and does not have the same level of security as a £50,000 car.
Roy also says having one key to start up a JCB is a problem, as it is the same key for every JCB, whether it is yours, your neighbours or one far away.
Roy now believes his digger is abroad.
He says if more money was pumped into security at ports to allow more checks to be done it would curb rural crime.
He thinks this would put a stop to the black market as the machines could not be shifted abroad so easily:
“I was absolutely fed up, because we go out and work hard to earn a living, and then these people overnight just take it away from you.
“I was sickened by it and just devastated really, because it was almost a brand new piece of equipment.
“£55,000 is a lot of money to us, we can’t afford to lose that type of money.
“The other problem that we have is it still costs you at the end of the day, I keep hearing everybody say to me ‘oh it was insured’, but my policies will go up over the next five years, and it will cost me that money.
“We will be out of pocket by £55,000 over the years for it.”
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