Rural Crime

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.

Reporting rural crime

As with any type of crime, we rely on the assistance of the public and agencies to enable us to detect offences and prosecute offenders. You can help us by being our eyes and ears. Report things that make you suspicious. Wildlife criminals are often involved in other types of crime. Your call may lead police to uncover all sorts of illegal activity.

  • For non-emergencies contact the police on 101 and the information will be passed immediately to specialist rural officer
  • Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Cheshire Police Rural Policing Strategy

The Rural Policing Strategy has been developed in response to the local and national rural crime surveys and following extensive feedback from Cheshire residents as part of a consultation led by the county’s police and crime commissioner, David Keane.

The strategy outlines what tactics police in rural areas will use to tackle crime. This includes working with partners on preventive methods, using intelligence to identify problems and disrupt criminality and using enforcement to target offenders who cause the most harm.