RURAL crime cost West Sussex nearly £375,000 last year.
New figures from NFU Mutual this week showed quad bikes, all-terrain vehicles, tools, machinery and equine equipment were the most sought after items in 2017.
Alastair McAloon, NFU Mutual agent in West Sussex, said: “Countryside criminals continue to become more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.
“Social media is fast becoming the new eyes and ears of the countryside. By keeping in close touch with neighbours and police through local farmwatch schemes, country people can play a significant role in identifying suspicious activity and bringing thieves to justice.
“Fitting gates to prevent easy access to farm yards and drives is one of the most effective measures.
“High-tech security such as movement detectors, infra-red cameras and ‘geo-fencing’, which triggers an alarm if a farm vehicle moves off the premises, can also play a part.”
The £373,168 cost of crime in the county was a 14.7 per cent fall from the previous year to buck the national trend. Crime figures in NFU Mutual’s latest annual rural crime report revealed the UK saw a 13.4 per cent rise in the cost of the offences in 2017.
The report also revealed limited police resources and repeat attacks were the biggest fears for people in rural communities. Many were forced to change their lives due to a fear of crime.