Lancashire Constabulary Logo

Rural Crime

Theft of fuel/diesel

High fuel prices can make oil an attractive proposition for thieves, and can leave the farmer with serious financial consequences if stolen.

  • If possible install fuel tanks within secure buildings but within sight of the main house, do not store close to the road or other access points. Ensure that advice is sought from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and OFTEC prior to storage within an outbuilding.
  • Consider installing anti-siphon devices in vehicles
  • Consider chemically ‘tagging’ your fuel
  • Consider use of electronic fuel level gauges fitted with alarms
  • Consider use of anti-siphon devices
  • Isolate the electricity supply when fuel tanks not in use
  • Secure your tank with close shackle padlocks which offer most resistance to bolt croppers
  • Consider the use of security lights/CCTV
  • Consider defensive planting


Horse boxes, trailers and tack are regularly targeted by thieves. Keep your property safe by:

  • Keeping tack in a secure place, ideally stored in a solidly constructed building
  • Keeping buildings locked at all times when possible
  • Installing security lighting and CCTV
  • Marking tack, taking photographs and keep an inventory

Livestock theft

Livestock can be easy targets, but there are steps you can take to make the theft more difficult:

  • Check livestock regularly
  • Check security fencing and hedging on a regular basis
  • Consider the use of cattle grids
  • Use adequate marking systems
  • Take photographs of valuable animals


Certain chemicals such as fertilisers, diesel, herbicides and pesticides, which are often stored in large quantities on farms, can be misused to devastating effect. To minimise the possibility of theft:

  • Store fertiliser inside a locked building
  • Do not store fertiliser where there is public access
  • Do not leave fertiliser in fields overnight
  • Keep fertiliser storage areas away from public roads
  • Do not sell fertiliser to unknown individuals
  • Record fertiliser deliveries and usage, carry out regular stock checks
  • Record the manufacturer code and the number of the detonation resistance test certificate

Metal theft

Thieves like metals because they are easily recycled, and the cash-based nature of the scrap-metal industry makes disposal easier. Thieves will target things like lead and copper rainwater pipes, iron gates, manhole covers, catalytic converters from cars and agricultural vehicles, copper lightening conductors and metal garden ornaments

What can you do to protect your property?

  • Do not leave scrap metal lying around, dispose of it immediately or store it securely
  • Store ladders out of sight
  • Consider installing security lighting
  • Use security marking on metal goods
  • Consider a CCTV system
  • Cut back tall trees and vegetation


Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste, from a bin bag of rubbish to larger quantities. It can:

  • Cause damage to the environment, costing landowners, businesses and tax payers millions every year
  • Pose a threat to humans and wildlife
  • Spoil our enjoyment of the countryside
  • Undermine legitimate waste businesses
  • Result in declining property prices
  • Cause local businesses to suffer as people stay away

Remember as a landowner you are responsible for removal of waste on your land by a licensed waste carrier.

Be vigilant:

  • If you find fly-tipped waste on your land, suspect illegal waste carriers or see fly-tipping in progress, you can report this to your local council. Find out how to contact your local council here
  • If you give waste to anyone, ensure they are authorised to carry it. Obtain a receipt detailing where the waste is going, vehicle details and the carrier’s authorisation number – this is a legal obligation if you are in business, but is good practice if you are a private householder
  • The Environment Agency has the statutory responsibility to investigate the larger scale fly tipping incidences where the waste may pose a serious risk to the environment and where the activity is linked to organised crime

Drug dealing and cannabis cultivation

Cannabis farms bring crime, violence and intimidation into a neighbourhood.  

What should you look out for?

  • A strong, sickly smell given off by cannabis plants
  • Lighting and ventilation equipment being taken into a house
  • Constantly covered or blacked out windows
  • Comings and goings at all hours
  • Strong and constant lighting day and night
  • High levels of heat and condensation
  • Constant buzz of ventilation
  • Lots of power cables