Rural crime is increasing and it's a serious issue for countryside communities, farmers and businesses

Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds across the UK. For example, in 2018 it cost the farming community almost £50 million.

Added to this is the cost of illegal fly-tipping on private land, which is estimated to be between £50 million and £150 million each year to clear up. 


Rural fly tipping 

Fly-tipping has changed from a van load of building rubble left in a gateway to lorry-loads of hazardous waste being dumped on farm land.

Large-scale, industrial fly-tipping is simply the illegal dumping of large amounts of waste, usually on farmland. Waste can be costly and time-consuming to remove.

When fly-tipping takes place on private land, it is the landowner’s responsibility to remove the dumped waste, often at great cost. 

Fly-tipping is a serious threat – to the health of grazing animals, wildlife, to the environment, and especially to landowners who are often left to deal with the aftermath themselves.


Machinery theft 

Tools, quads/ATVs and machinery top the thieves’ wish lists.

Farm machinery is often expensive and farms are dependent on it. A stolen tractor could mean crops can’t be harvested, or a stolen quad bike means livestock can’t be fed. There isn’t a big market for second-hand farm machinery in the UK, so high value items can often be stolen to order and then sent abroad.

Farmers have experienced violence when confronting thieves on their land, which is often remote and difficult to secure. 


Hare coursing 

Hare coursing is a blood sport where dogs are used in the pursuit of hares, often for the purposes of betting. It takes place on areas of flat, open land where the dogs can easily and visibly pursue the hare. It is typically carried out by large groups of people who travel long distances.

It has evolved into a nationally organised crime with huge sums changing hands through online betting.

Hare coursing is illegal under the Hunting act but it also has other impacts. For example, fences and gates can be damaged by vehicles forcibly trying to gain access to land. Once in a field, it is common practice to film the chase from a moving vehicle, which can inflict significant damage to the field and any crops within it.

Farmers who challenge hare coursers are often threatened with physical violence to themselves or their families.

Badger-baiting is a similar activity where dogs are set on badgers, typically resulting in the death of the badger, and potentially serious injuries being inflicted on the dogs.


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