Rural crime is an issue for large areas of the country, but it tends to go unreported. It can impact on insurance premiums, food prices and damage local communities.

It can be hard to know whether something is a crime and whether to contact the police or another charity or organisation. 

Types of rural crime

Rural crime tends to fall into one of four categories:

  • agricultural 
  • equine 
  • wildlife
  • heritage

It can also fall under environmental crime, which covers illegal waste dumping, fly tipping, polluting watercourses and land.


Agricultural crime covers working farms, farm machinery, farm buildings and smallholdings. Offences include theft of equipment or fuel, damage to property and livestock worrying. 


Equine crime covers working stables and equestrian centres and includes offences like tack theft and livestock worrying.


Wildlife crime includes hare coursing, poaching and interfering with protected species. You can find out more about wildlife crime on our dedicated wildlife crime pages.


Heritage crime is defined as 'any offence which harms the value of England's heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations'.

That can include offences like lead theft from churches, damage to ancient monuments and illegal metal detecting.

Find out what you can do to protect yourself against these forms of rural crime.

How to report it

If you think an offence has or is about to be committed, let us know. You can report a crime online.

If you’re not sure it’s a crime, we’d rather hear from you and determine that ourselves.