Coronavirus is having a huge impact on the agricultural industry, with main concerns focused around labour due to travel restrictions, causing farmers to work around the clock to produce key supplies to feed the nation.
Adding to the pressure, there has been an increase in crime in rural areas as police attention is required in other areas during the Coronavirus pandemic. Statistics show that in the first week of the lockdown, there was a 54% rise in fly-tipping on rural land, which was put down to the closure of recycling centres.* This causes additional work and concern for farmers as they are having to pay for clear up or are doing it themselves, taking their attention away from producing key supplies for supermarkets. Local authorities are currently in the process of discussing reopening recycling centres with Defra to reduce this.
Through these testing times, we urge farmers to be vigilant against crime whilst the country is in lockdown.
The below offers some guidance on the steps you can take to help protect your farm against criminals.
- Farm buildings – use steel padlocks for buildings and sheds to keep contents secure. Alarm systems and CCTV cameras can also be helpful to deter criminals.
- Farm houses – working around the clock may leave houses unattended. Ensure all windows and doors are securely locked. Burglar alarms can also help to make you aware of thieves when you are working on the farm or fields.
- Vehicles – remove all keys from vehicles left unattended, as well as storing the vehicles in secure buildings when they’re not in use.
- Machinery – as we enter the summer months, farmers rely heavily on valuable equipment to sow crops, fertilise the land and feed livestock to keep the food chain going. Keep all machinery in secure buildings, using strong locks. Inner locks would also be advisable, acting as another layer of protection.
- Livestock – during the Coronavirus pandemic, some farmers have seen a rise in livestock theft, where criminals are selling animals for profit**. Check your livestock on a regular basis, ensuring all fencing is secure. Ear tags, horn brands and freeze marks will, naturally, make your animals more identifiable.
- Fraud – police have reported an increase in coronavirus-related scams, including fraud and cybercrime***. Always be cautious if you are asked to make changes to bank details or make payments to a new account. If you are sent an email from an unknown address and it seems suspicious, do not click the links or attachments as this could enable fraudsters to access your computer.
Throughout these difficult times, McClarrons are here to support you with our in-house claims team, who will not only manage any settlement negotiations for you should the worst happen, but will provide you with steps to take in the immediate aftermath of a loss. If you need to speak to us about a potential claim, you can contact your Account Executive, here.
We also offer Rural Protect, a specialist management liability policy for rural businesses, which can help should you need to take action against a third party. Find out more about what we can do for you, here.