The NFU has partnered with the charity Crimestoppers to launch the Rural Crime Reporting Line, a service through which you can anonymously give information about four rural crimes.
Rural crime is on the rise and it is a serious issue for farmers, businesses and those who live in the countryside. Whether it is fly-tipping, hare coursing, livestock theft or machinery theft, rural crime has a devastating effect on farms and other rural businesses.
Those responsible for this blight on our countryside are suspected of having links to organised crime. It is vital we bring them to justice.
That’s where you can help.
You can either call the dedicated Rural Crime Reporting Line on 0800 783 0137 or visit www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk to give information anonymously about one of these four crimes:
- Large-scale, industrial fly-tipping
- Hare coursing
- Livestock theft
- Machinery theft
The service was unveiled to MPs at a launch event in Westminster, where they were urged to encourage constituents to use the service and give information about these crimes in their area.
What are these crimes?
Large-scale, industrial fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste, usually on farmland. In 2015/16 there were 936,000 incidents of fly-tipping, a 4% increase since 2015/16. Waste can be costly and time consuming to remove. It’s also dangerous to human health, wildlife and livestock. When fly-tipping takes place on private land, it is the landowner’s responsibility to remove the dumped waste often at great cost.
Hare-coursing is the pursuit of hares with dogs, often for the purposes of betting. It takes place on areas of flat, open land where the dogs can easily and visibly pursue the hare. It is typically carried out by large groups of people who travel long distances. It is illegal under the Hunting Act but it also has other impacts, for example: fences and gates can be damaged by vehicles forcibly trying to gain access to land.
Livestock theft can be a lucrative criminal activity due to the good prices that can often be received for cattle and sheep. The crime can range from losing hundreds of animals to just one of two. The loss of stock leads to significant financial losses and can also have further impacts on the business such as losing breeding stock.
Machinery theft: farm machinery is often expensive and the business is dependent on it. For example, a stolen tractor could mean crops can’t be harvested or a stolen quad bike means livestock can’t be fed. There isn’t a big market for second-hand farm machinery in the UK, so high value items can often be stolen to order and then sent abroad. Farmers have experienced violence when confronting thieves on their land – which is often remote and difficult to secure.
To provide information on any of the crimes outlined above you can call the dedicated Rural Crime Reporting Line on 0800 783 0137 or visit www.ruralcrimereportingline.uk to give information - 100% anonymously. Always.