NFU Mutual to sponsor ‘Ewe Hostel’ network for stolen livestock

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  • NFU Mutual to fund ‘lairage’ accommodation for stolen livestock
  • Livestock theft cost rural communities nearly £2 million in 2013
  • Scheme gives police the time, and expertise, to tackle livestock theft

NFU Mutual has teamed up with a Lancashire based livestock theft prevention scheme as it seeks to go national and replicate its success across the UK.

Central to the scheme is a network of NFU Mutual funded ‘ewe hostels’ – known officially as lairage – where livestock suspected of being stolen can be stored while police investigate.

Having this lairage network ensures that the livestock maintains its integrity as police evidence and also helps rural communities manage disease and welfare risks associated with stolen livestock.

Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “This scheme is already proving to be an effective deterrent to would-be thieves in rural Lancashire. Our latest claims figures do seem to indicate that we are turning the tide on livestock theft, and schemes like this one are key to this success.

“We are now proud to be working with this scheme as it moves forward and seeks to roll-out nationally. Dynamic partnerships like this one, which put the community at their core, are an invaluable tool in the fight against rural crime.”

Alongside establishing a lairage network, the initiative has also focused on ensuring adequate training is provided to police officers to increase their knowledge and confidence in dealing with livestock issues and to establish protocols for livestock theft.

Commenting, John Taylor, the Lancashire farmer behind the scheme said: “Having the support of NFU Mutual is an incredible boost as we grow this scheme and continue to tackle the criminals who blight our rural communities. We welcome this partnership with the NFU Mutual and look forward to working closely with them over coming months.”

Simon Prince, Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police and national lead on Rural Crime said; “Partnership working is the key in preventing and detecting rural crimes. All of the partners in the NFU and Lancashire Constabulary Livestock Theft Prevention Initiative have brought their own areas of expertise together to set up a united front from the agricultural industry to fight rural crime alongside the police. I want other police forces to work together with relevant partners to develop similar schemes.”

According to NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Survey 2014, rural theft cost the UK economy £44.5 million in 2013, up 5.2% from £42.3 million the previous year. NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Survey 2015, including national and regional theft statistics, will be published in August.