THE cost to the local economy of rural crime in Somerset was up 9% to £1.2million last year, according to a survey by NFU Mutual.
Tools, quad bikes and garden equipment were the most targeted items and many victims suffered repeat crimes.
An NFU spokesman said: “Although high-value thefts may be planned and highly organised, the number of stolen garden tools and ornaments indicates opportunist thieves continue to target gardens and outbuildings.”
NFU Somerset-based agent Naomi Parker said: “The cost of claims is increasing as a result of more high-value items being stolen.
“That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant and fight rural crime.
“Our experience with people who live and work in rural areas of Somerset clearly shows that theft is more than just a setback – it can be devastating for businesses and families.
“One of the rural community’s best assets is its people who can work together to safeguard the local neighbourhood.”