The Yorkshire Post says: Country crimes. Staggering costs of thefts

CRIME is not only a blight on our region's countryside, but has a devastating economic impact on those who live and work there.

Farmer David Airey, of Sutton-in-Craven, has been a victim of rural crime.

It is a matter of serious concern that it cost Yorkshire and the North-East £6.8m last year, as part of a staggering £44.5m nationally.

For farmers especially, this is a financial burden that they can ill afford to bear.

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Equally concerning is that this region remains one of the worst three areas of the country, according the figures released by insurer NFU Mutual.

This is an unenviable distinction.

Tackling rural crime is notoriously difficult. Inevitably, police resources are spread more thinly than in urban areas, and response times to incidents greater because of the distances involved.

The often sparsely-populated nature of the countryside also makes it easier for criminals to get away without being seen by witnesses.

Yet there is some encouraging news, with crime in both North and South Yorkshire down.

This is a trend that needs to be built upon. In particular, the success of a North Yorkshire Police 
task force could provide a model that other areas can adopt.

Given that vehicles are amongst the most frequently stolen items, it is possible that increased emphasis on intelligence operations to establish where they are being sold yields results.

Residents of the countryside also need to report crimes, which some businesses are failing to do. If the police are to win this fight, those who live and work there need to be their eyes and ears.