£2.5 million was spent on rural crime in Lincolnshire last year

Rural crime cost Lincolnshire £2.5 million last year and is the worst effected county in the UK - according to rural insurers NFU Mutual.

This figure is a five per cent from 2015 when it cost £2.4 million.

According to NFU Mutual’s 2017 Rural Crime Report, early theft claims statistics for the first half of this year show a sharp rise of more than 20 per cent nationally, raising concerns that a new wave of rural crime is hitting the countryside.

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The items most commonly targeted by thieves across Lincolnshire over the last 12 months were ATV (all terrain vehicles) and quad bikes, tools and 4x4s.

A spokesman from Lincs Police said: “These figures are based only on NFU insurance claims, so if the county has a high proportion of people using this provider that would no doubt affect the figures.

“The figures do not correlate with crime figures – if you look at the chart setting out the worst affected counties, there are massive fluctuations in the per cent change with a range between 40.6 per cent down to 53.7 per cent up.

“We don’t see this sort of fluctuation in crime figures.

“Based on the latest ONS crime stats Lincolnshire is now the 4th safest place to live in England and Wales.

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“Lincolnshire recorded 50.6 crimes per 1,000 people over a population of 736,700.

“The lowest in England and Wales was 45.1 crimes per 1,000 people over a population of 515,900.”

UK statistics show rural theft costs fell four per cent in 2016 but have risen sharply in the first half of 2017.