FARM groups are appealing to Cumbrian farmers to take part in a research project focusing on agricultural vehicle theft.

With the cost of rural crime at its highest level for eight years, the National Farmers Union (NFU) is encouraging members to take part in the project.

The study is being conducted by Dr Kate Tudor, a criminologist at Northumbria University and all entries will be strictly confidential. The aim of the project is to use the public’s experiences to better inform national policing strategies and develop a more effective response to rural crime.

The NFU Mutual annual rural crime report showed that the cost of rural crime was at £54m in 2019, the highest level for eight years, and an increase of nearly nine percent on 2018.

The report highlighted the main areas driving the increase were thefts of high-value tractors, quad bikes and other farm vehicles. Recently, there has been a spike in reports of quadbike and tractor global positioning systems (GPS) thefts. These items are easily portable and high value objects, which have proven to be increasingly popular with thieves in recent months.

Data gathered by the study will be invaluable towards addressing agricultural theft and support the NFU’s lobbying for government to take rural crime seriously.