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Llamas and geese recruited in fight against rural crime in Sussex
Sussex farmers are using geese and llamas to deter thieves who target rural properties.
The survey conducted by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual revealed that land owners in parts of the county are keeping geese to alert them of trespassers, while also housing louder, more aggressive animals such as llamas with livestock and installing fog machines to disorientate would-be thieves.
Rural crime cost Sussex £930,000 last year, the new report revealed.
Throughout the whole of the South East, the total cost was estimated to be around £4.7 million in 2012 – a drop from £5.5 million in 2011.
In Sussex the top three most-targeted items by thieves were agricultural machinery, fuel such as domestic heating oil and red diesel and tools such as chainsaws and power washers.
Annie Streeter,NFUMutual agent in Haywards Heath, said: “There are some property owners who do take unusual steps to protect their property – a good domestic dog is always a good idea.
“We do have to take responsibility to make sure that our properties are secure and that we’re not easy pickings.
“Sussex in particular has been targeted – we can’t be entirely sure why this is, but it could be due to our close proximity to motorways and affluent rural dwellings.
“There is a lot that people can do to protect their properties such as installing very loud alarms and using closed shackle locks.”
The research also suggests that more traditional preventative security-measures such as CCTV, tracker devices, as well as more traditional methods of locks, are more effective than a greater police presence or tougher sentencing.
NFU Mutual also believes that the majority of rural crime is planned rather than opportunist, with evidence also indicating that some thefts are repeated when the thieves return within weeks to plunder the replacements.
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “The majority of rural crime takes place in isolated areas but, people do talk and there’s every chance that someone, somewhere knows something about such crimes.
“If you see anything suspicious call us at once on 999, if you have any other information about suspects or trends then call us on 101.
“You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
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