West Yorkshire suffered a “staggering” rise in the cost of rural crime last year, according to insurance claims figures.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual’ found that the value of items stolen in rural parts of West Yorkshire rose by almost a third - 30 per cent - to £1.5m.
Thieves most commonly targeted all terrain vehicles, quad bikes, 4x4s and tools.
Nationally, the insurance claims also show the value of rural crime has increased by 20 per cent in the first half of 2017.
John Skidmore, an NFU Mutual agent in West Yorkshire, said: “Rural crime in West Yorkshire has risen dramatically during the last 12 months, as countryside criminals are becoming more brazen and farmers are now having to continually increase security and adopt new ways of protecting their equipment.
“In some parts of the county, farmers are having to turn their farmyards into fortresses to protect themselves from repeated thieves who are targeting quads, tractors and power tools. They are using tracking devices on tractors, video and infra-red surveillance in their farm yards and even DNA markers to protect sheep from rustlers.”
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “While the force cannot comment specifically on an insurer’s data regarding claims by its own customers, it is committed to trying to reduce all types of crime affecting businesses and fully recognises the concerns of those affected.
“West Yorkshire Police has crime prevention officers working in all districts of the county who can provide support to businesses, including rural ones, with regards to protecting themselves against crime.”
Across the wider Yorkshire region, rural crime cost a total of £3.6m last year and UK-wide cost £39.2m.