A SURVEY has revealed that rural crime increased by 5 per cent to an estimated cost of £2million in Wales in 2013.

High-value items such as tools, quad bikes and fuel are said to top the 'wish list' of thieves across south and mid Wales.

UK statistics also show rural crime costing an estimated £44.5million in 2013, with the Welsh cost of rural crime rising from £1.9million in 2012.

The figures are part of a UK-wide survey by NFU Mutual. The leading rural insurer’s annual Rural Crime Survey shows the nationwide cost of rural crime totalled an estimated £44.5m in 2013 – a rise of 5.2 per cent. The new figure reverses a fall of 19 per cent in 2012.

The most common items targeted by thieves in South and Mid Wales over the last 12 months were tools, quad bikes and fuel, such as domestic heating oil and farmers’ supplies of ‘red’ diesel.

More than half of staff interviewed from hundreds of NFU Mutual offices in rural communities around the UK also said they’d seen customers suffer repeat crimes or had high-value items stolen.

Although high-value thefts may be planned and highly organised, the number of stolen garden tools and ornaments indicates opportunist thieves continue to target gardens and outbuildings.

Julian Kelly, NFU Mutual Agent in Bridgend, 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. "Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of South Wales clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback – it can be devastating for businesses and families.

“One of the rural community’s best assets is its people who can work together to safeguard the local neighbourhood. That is why NFU Mutual organises the Country Crime Fighters Awards, a nationwide competition to support and encourage fantastic examples of crime prevention taking place in the countryside.

“You can enter or nominate someone on our website.”

For more information on the Rural Crime Survey visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime