Rural crime surge targeting farms continues in 2021

Rural crime 2021


Following our recent article exploring the current rural crime trend blighting farms across the UK – entitles ‘Is it time to rethink farm security?’ – sadly, it seems this trend is continuing with several incidents reported at farms across the UK this April as lockdown restrictions began to ease and thieves were able to move around the countryside more freely.

Just some of the latest rural crime incidents that have affected farm security this April included:

Arson attacks and farm fires

Huge emergency response after major fire at Lancashire farm

Six fire engines from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and officers from Greater Manchester Fire Service were called to a farm in Up Holland shortly before 6pm on 21st April to battle a blaze in a 35 x 10m barn on the property. The incident was reported by Lancs-Live

Pig Farm in Lincolnshire re-opens its doors in April despite recent devastating arson attack

Pink Pig Farm in Scunthorpe has re-opened its doors to the public following a suspected arson attack  which caused ten thousand worth of damage as reported by Lincolnshire Live on 3rd March. 140 hay bales were set alight.

Owner of Pink Pig Farm Sally Jackson says it is the second time during the pandemic the farm has been subjected to this type of attack.”

Antique tractors worth £35,000 were destroyed

On 13th April 2021, The East Devon News reported that antique tractors worth £35,000 were destroyed  following an arson attack. The blaze happened at a farm in Southleigh, East Devon during the night of Sunday 11th April.

Officers believe that the culprits could have set the fire to the barn structure housing the tractors after failing to steal the vintage vehicles.

The cost of agricultural vehicle theft in the UK tops £9.3 million in value according to the NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2020 which increased by 26% from 2019.

The high cost of arson & farm fires

Arson is a major concern for farmers too, with Farmers Guardian reporting that arsonists and electrical fires left the farming industry with a £49.1 million bill in 2019 alone.

Farms are particularly vulnerable to arson due to their isolated location and open boundaries. Whilst arson attacks on farms and small holdings may be difficult to eliminate, a number of simple precautions can help to reduce the risk of attack:

  • Provide, repair or replace damaged fencing or gates
  • Install intruder sensors and security lighting
  • Maintain the security of out buildings
  • Replace or re-site security and warning notices
  • Maintain fire fighting equipment and check that it is in good order
  • Prepare a fire routine and action plan, make sure all farm workers know what to do.
Monitored Thermal CCTV cameras can be particularly effective in spotting the first signs of fire whether by arson or not.

> Monitored alarms & CCTV can help optimise your farm security, contact Farsight HERE 

Livestock thefts

Lambs stolen overnight from farm in West Lothian

On 21st April The Daily Record reported that staff from a West Lothian farm and visitor centre are appealing for the safe return of two new born lambs that were discovered missing overnight between Monday, 19 and Tuesday, 20 April, 2021. The lambs are rare breed sheep listed in the highest conservation bracket

Police investigate the theft of 75 sheep from Highlands Farm

On 19th April, Farmers Guardian reported that police are investigating the theft of 75 Scottish Black Face ’South Type’ sheep from a farm near Tomatin, south of Inverness.

The high cost of livestock theft

As one of the most costly threats to farm security, livestock thefts impact farmers and businesses both financially and emotionally. In fact,  Neighbourhood Watch put this as the third most costly crime for the UK’s farming sector according to insurers.

Setting up CCTV surveillance on your property can act as a deterrent as well providing visual proof that can improve conviction rates. Currently less than 1% of sheep rustling incidents result in a conviction.  Modern CCTV cameras can be installed to suit these outdoor  environments being wireless and battery powered or even solar powered.

Of course, CCTV surveillance that is monitored by professionals gives the advantage of the ability to respond to incidents proactively 24/7 365  enabling quick deterrence with audio warnings and visual verification can re-enforce police response call-outs in real time.

Speak to Farsight today about optimising your farm security to help protect your livestock from theft, simply call 0845 371 0101 or drop us a line here: Contact Us

Vehicle thefts from tractors to quad bikes

Numerous vehicle related rural farm thefts were reported across the UK in April, with thieves targeting tractors and quad bikes – including these:

Theft from a tractor in Strathmore

On 1st April Police Scotland reported the theft of tools, wing mirrors and a light beacon from a Massey Ferguson tractor on a farm in Meigle in Strathmore, Scotland between 3 pm on Sunday 7.30 am on Monday.

£8,500 quad bike stolen in Gloucestershire 

Gloucestershire Constabulary reported the theft of a quad bike valued at £8,500 from a farm in the Mitcheldean area. On the night of the 16th of April Unknown offenders have entered the farm yard and an open barn where a Honda Pioneer quad bike was stored and driven it away.

Quad bike stolen from Highlands

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland reported the theft of a quad bike between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday 11th April from a shed in Fort William. May be connected to a white Ford Transit Van seen acting suspiciously in the area.

Quad bike thieves strike again in the Highlands

Neighbourhood Watch Scotland reported the theft of a quad bike from an insecure shed between the hours of early hours of 18th April from Roy Bridge following sighting of a white Ford Transit van acting suspiciously in the area.

Four people arrested as police recover stolen quad bike in Yorkshire

The Telegraph & Argus reported four people were arrested in North Yorkshire as the Steerside Enforcement Team assisted North Yorkshire Rural Taskforce in Idle with the recovery of a stolen farm quad on 5th April.

Tractor GPS Systems stolen

GPS system theft is an increasing crime trend in the UK due to their portability, value and high demand for agri-tech devices both at home and abroad. Rebecca Davidson of NFU Mutual commented, “This trend is deeply worrying for farmers who are investing in hi-tech equipment to make their farms more efficient and reduce pollution.”

These are just some thefts reported in April:

John Deere GPS receivers stolen in Warwickshire 

Neighbourhood Watch reported that at approximately 2 a.m. on 1st April, unknown offender(s) forced entry to an outbuilding at Brinklow and stole 3 x John Deere RTK green and yellow GPS receivers.

Police Issue GPS theft warning in Cheshire

Cheshire Constabulary issued this warning: “There has been an increase of thefts of tractor navigation systems within the surrounding areas of Knutsford. Please make sure that you remain vigilant, utilise all possible crime prevention options and tell as many people as you can so that everyone can take their part in helping to prevent any further thefts.”

DC Chris Piggott, rural vehicle crime officer at the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (Navcis), commented:

“Navcis are seeing organised crime gangs increasingly moving throughout the UK targeting farmers for their tractor GPS systems.”

GPS systems are used extensively in the farming sector allowing farmers to map where exactly the resources of that farm will be used to increase the resource use as well as increase its efficiency. However, the are expensive and their portability and black market value is attractive to thieves. Ensuring they are protected is vital to avoid loss and theft which can have devastating effects on farm productivity.

Optimise your farm security with Farsight remote alarm & CCTV monitoring

security monitoring


Effective CCTV monitoring has become a crucial element to consider when optimising businesses security to protect premises, assets and people. So, how does remote CCTV monitoring work?

In our experience, by combining CCTV monitoring with live, proactive audio warnings can be particularly effective in deterring farm security incidents before they progress. In fact, during 2020 Farsight CCTV operators issued a mammoth 119,901 audio deterrent warnings and progressed almost 10,000 incidents to blue light services demonstrating a proactive security deterrent approach rather than a retrospective one.

As a leading UK based remote monitoring station, Farsight works with security systems installers and business sites across the farming & agriculture sectors to help protect their premises, assets and people with our range of security monitoring services.  Our services Include:

We can help to protect what’s yours from theft, fire or malicious damage… we’d love to see how we can work with you to optimise your farm security…contact us below:

Further Resources

Farm Security


Farsight recently published an article looking at the most common rural crime trends affecting farms across the UK.  In this we also outline some security measures to consider that can help optimise your farm security. Read the article below to say in the loop:

> Is it time to rethink farm security?

NFU Member discounts available from Farsight

NFU CCTV partner discount


We recognise that farmers continue to be ‘pinched’ from all sides, and keeping costs to a minimum is a key priority.  Every little helps, and that’s why Farsight, as NFU Pro members, offer new clients who are also NFU Members a 10% discount off quotes for any of our remote monitoring services.  You can find us in the NFU Business Directory.