Sugden welcomes drop in rural and agricultural crime

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has welcomed a 28% drop in rural crime, but urged those who live in the countryside to continue to take precautions to safeguard against crime, particularly as lockdown measures ease.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:35 pm

There were a number of organisations that worked towards tackling the issue, including the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) which had existing and developing resources to help keep farmers and other rural dwellers safe, she said.

“It’s good news that rural crime has dropped in the past year,” said the former Justice Minister. “This is representative of a more general drop in crime, in part due to lockdown, but nonetheless it is a move in the right direction and to be welcomed.

“Crime can be particularly intimidating when it occurs in isolated areas, but in addition to crimes such as burglaries, rural crime can range from theft of machinery to livestock crime.”

Claire Sugden

Agricultural crime – crime in which the victim’s job, the stolen goods or location was agricultural in nature – dropped 14% in the same time across Northern Ireland.

Causeway Coast and Glens policing district saw a decrease of 7% in agricultural crime and a 28% drop in rural crime generally. Rural crime covers all burglary, robbery and theft offences in rural areas.

“Again, this is a move in the right direction, but those living in rural areas must continue to take precautions to protect themselves from crime, especially when lockdown measures start to ease,” Ms Sugden continued.

“The Rural Crime Partnership, its Action Plan, and the Rural Crime Task Force, exist to tackle the wide range of crimes experienced by rural communities and the charity Rural Support provides advice and support to those who find themselves victims of rural crime.

“DAERA and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland are also about to launch a new online farming resources hub, which will have a section on rural crime and ways to minimise risk.”