Leading rural insurer, NFU Mutual, has warned of the dangers of livestock theft, despite a decrease in claims since 2014. Claims costs in June and July of 2015 were over twice as high as in 2014 due to a spate of sheep thefts.
NFU Mutual Rural affairs specialist, Tim Price said: “Years of experience working with farmers and police to tackle rural crime has taught us one important message: thieves don’t go away; if you improve security in one area they will step back, and seek a way to bypass your security measures – or find something else they can steal from farms and sell-on.”
Livestock security schemes have been set up in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria. NFU Mutual has made funds and resource available to help farmers in counties with rustling problems set up their own schemes. There’s a warning to farmers in the South West however – there’s been a rise in claims costs this year.
There is evidence that the Lancashire Livestock Security Police, pioneered by the NFU and Lancashire Police - with support from NFU Mutual - is proving effective. The number of claims and their cost is down by 37% so far this year, compared to 2014.
Preventing rustling is not as easy as putting a padlock on a building, or fitting a security system to a tractor, because you can’t lock up livestock overnight or fit an immobiliser to them. However, there are a number of steps that farmers can take to reduce the risk.
Top tips to tackle livestock rustling:
Padlock field gates and take time to inspect outside fences
Ensure stock is clearly marked and records are kept up to date
Visit your livestock every day but vary the times you do this– rustlers are likely to take note of your daily routine
Where possible, keep livestock away from roads. An all-weather road can be a friend to livestock rustlers as they cannot afford to waste time on difficult terrain
Keep an eye out for suspicious vehicles- if you see an unfamiliar vehicle moving slowly, it may be somebody scouting out your livestock
Join a FarmWatch scheme