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House of Commons Hansard
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28 March 2019
Volume 657

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10. What recent assessment his Department has made of the economic effect of rural crime on farmers. [910081]

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There is no formal assessment of the cost of rural crime, but NFU Mutual, the highly respected insurance organisation, has estimated the cost of rural crime at £44.5 million in 2017.

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Two weeks ago, I was due to meet the National Farmers Union and farmers from my local community. Unfortunately, on the day, one of the farmers could not attend because the previous night 19 ewes had been slaughtered in his fields. I understand that across Warwickshire we lost 27 ewes, slaughtered in the field, with entrails left there. It is a growing problem in our communities, among our farmers, with a significant economic impact on them. Part of the problem is down to lack of law enforcement and police numbers. Will the Secretary of State advise me on what I should say to farmers in my community about how to prevent this in future?

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the issue. He once more brings to our attention a horrific series of crimes. I would hope that he and I will be able to talk to the local police and crime commissioner to ensure that they have the resources and powers required. If anything more is required, I am more than happy to talk to Home Office colleagues to ensure that the incidents he has drawn to the House’s attention are not repeated.