The UK lockdown may have helped to greatly reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but it’s had an unexpected impact on the country’s farming industry. Since the lockdown began, fly-tipping has become an increasing concern. This is especially true in rural areas.

With farmers across the country already facing pressure due to the pandemic, fly-tipping is pushing some to breaking point. Here, we’ll look at the rise in rural crime and how it is putting UK farmers at risk.

The increase in rural crime

The rural farming community is experiencing an increase in a range of rural crimes. In a recent survey carried out by Farmer’s Weekly, 82% of respondents believed that rural crime has increased in the last 12 months.

They also believe that the government is not providing rural police with enough resources to tackle the issue. Some farmers are even considering taking matters into their own hands to resolve the problems experienced. Around 78% of those surveyed said they were worried about becoming a victim of rural crime. So, what types of crimes are being committed?

The most common rural crimes include:

  • Fly-tipping
  • Armed intrusions
  • Theft
  • Trespassing

Out of those surveyed, 12% had experienced an armed intruder. The biggest concerns however are trespassing and fly-tipping, which affected over half of the farmers surveyed. 

How does fly-tipping affect farmers?

Fly-tipping is a major issue across the UK. However, the lockdown has seen an increase in the problem as recycling and waste centres were closed. To avoid being caught, homeowners and unlicensed waste businesses have turned to rural areas.

Not only does fly-tipping on rural land look terrible, but it can also cause issues for farmers. One issue is that they have to pay to get rid of the waste themselves. If they don’t, they could face a significant fine, even though it wasn’t them who dumped the waste.

“Another issue fly-tipping presents is the danger to animals. If livestock is roaming in the fields where the rubbish is dumped, they could easily injure themselves. This would then lead to potentially large vet bills.

It isn’t just fly-tipping that is causing farmers to lose out financially. Other rural crimes are also impacting insurance.

How is rural crime impacting farmer insurance policies?

When farmers are hit by rural crime, they often need to claim their insurance and potentiall reasses their level of cover. With the increase in rural crime, insurers have started to see a large increase in claims too. This has led to a slight increase in premiums.

Increasing premiums are just one issue. Some farmers are targeted more than once. If they are the victim of numerous rural crimes, they could find it hard to get cover at all. This means changes need to be made to improve the safety of the farm. If security is improved, there should be minimal impact on farming insurance policies.

While it may be illegal, fly-tipping is becoming an increasing problem for farmers. Rural crime needs to start being tackled properly to avoid the industry suffering a major blow.”