Northern Ireland

Rural crime in Northern Ireland 'has risen by 15%'

Tractor
Image caption Tractors, tools and livestock were the most-commonly stolen items from farms in Northern Ireland last year, the NFU Mutual survey suggested

The level of rural crime in Northern Ireland rose by 15% last year, according to a survey by a farming insurance firm.

The National Farmers' Union Mutual Insurance Society (NFU Mutual) said the most-commonly stolen items were livestock, tractors and farming tools.

The company conducts an annual UK-wide survey of the cost of rural crime.

It has estimated that it cost Northern Ireland's economy £3.9m last year, up from £3.4m in 2012.

'Devastating'

Martin Malone, NFU Mutual manager for Northern Ireland, said: "The cost of claims is increasing as a result of more high-value items being stolen.

"That's why it's important to stay vigilant and fight rural crime."

He added: "Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of Northern Ireland clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback - it can be devastating for businesses and families."

Last September, Stormont's Department of Agriculture released figures that said almost 9,000 cattle had been reported missing or stolen across Northern Ireland in a three-year period from 2010 to 2013.

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