Rural Crime costs £44 million a year – estimates the NFU

Rural Theft – £44 Million

Daisy the cow

According to the NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Survey 2014, farms and rural properties are increasingly becoming the targets of criminals. They estimated that in the UK the cost of rural theft in 2013 was over £44 million, that’s an increase of more than 5% from 2012. The most commonly targeted items were tools, quad bikes and fuel. 2013 was also one of the worst years on record for livestock theft, which rose by 25%!

CCTV is considered standard in towns and cities such as London and Birmingham, however rural communities are often considered easy targets by criminals. It is assumed that farms and rural businesses are not widely protected by CCTV because it is considered expensive, time consuming to run and unnecessary for these quiet idyllic places. However, unfortunately for farmers, opportunist criminals know that these places are packed with valuable items, such as tractors and quad bikes, tools, machinery, fuel, scrap metal and even livestock. Quite often protected by nothing more than a padlock.

“95% of rural crime involves a vehicle”


Farms and rural properties can be challenging environments to monitor with surveillance, where there is a large amount of buildings such as barns and storage, and wide open spaces like yards and fields, there can be many blind spots and hidden areas. Therefore the positioning of CCTV cameras and the type of cameras used is important. Also large amounts of in and out traffic, makes number plate recognition an important feature of a CCTV installation, especially when you consider that 95% of rural crime involves a vehicle.

All farms are different, therefore bespoke CCTV systems are perfect for achieving the maximum potential from an installation. This may be considered costly to farmers, however these costs can be offset against reductions in insurance premiums. CCTV cameras can also act as a visual deterrent and put off any potential thieves, and if anything is stolen, a good CCTV installation could make all the difference in getting a conviction, potentially saving thousands in stolen assets.

Technology solves CCTV installation problems…


Another concern for farmers may be the difficulty in installing CCTV in old farm buildings, with thick stone walls and minimal power points, some with no power at all, its easy to see why farmers may be put off. But now with the developments in wireless CCTV, video and audio signals are easily sent from one building to another. 

How do farmers overcome the problems faced by bad weather, harsh winters and long dark nights? Many external CCTV cameras now come with such a high IP rating that they would still work 1km underwater! With vandal proof casings widely available and technology such as NiteDevil which produces high quality colour images in low light conditions, there isn’t a problem out there for farmers that a modern CCTV camera feature can’t solve.

Monitor CCTV on the go!


Even self-monitoring of a CCTV system is now an option. Technology is at a point now where CCTV no longer needs to be continuously monitored by an operator. Smart phone and tablets can now be connected to a CCTV system so it can be remotely monitored from just about anywhere, this is perfect for farmers who do not have time to constantly monitor CCTV themselves. And with the development of software such as Instant Detective, if an incident does occur then the footage is quick and easy to find, without having to search through hours and hours of recordings. Some CCTV systems even allow for email alerts if a camera is activated by an intruder.

It is clear from the NFU Mutual report that rural crime is on the rise, and farmers can not afford to have expensive vehicles and equipment, even livestock, stolen from them. And the most effective way of protecting these things, is with CCTV.

Things to consider when installing CCTV on a farm…

Business or Home Security?

Is the CCTV system protecting livestock, machinery and other business assets? If so, it cannot be considered for solely the purpose of home security. Therefore the system must comply with the Data Protection Act (DPA 1998) and be registered with the ICO at a cost of £35 a year, to register follow this link Not sure if you need to register your CCTV installation? Take the ICO’s short self-assessment test…

Are people aware of the CCTV system?

In order to comply with the Data Protection Act, members of the general public and anyone captured on the CCTV footage need to be made aware that CCTV is in use in the area. The best way to do this is with clear CCTV signage.

Human Rights

Anyone working on the farm needs to be made aware they are on CCTV and what the purpose of the CCTV installation is, i.e. to protect against theft. They also need to be able to easily contact the system owner in case they need to request footage. The easiest way to do this is to supply contact details on the CCTV signage.



For more information on how to comply with The Data Protection Act visit:

NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Survey 2014

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