The report expressed concerns that rural theft is expected to escalate as the economic impact of COVID-19 hits. Across the UK, rural crime cost £54.3 million in 2019, an increase of almost nine percent on the previous year.
Sheep rustling rose almost 15 percent year-on-year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with a spike in reports of livestock – mainly sheep and lambs – being stolen in April.
Farmers also experienced an ‘influx’ of walkers on their land while reports of dog attacks on farm animals rose during the outbreak.
The three counties worst affected by the cost of rural crime were Lincolnshire (£2.8 million), Essex (£2.7 million) and North Yorkshire (£2.2 million).
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