NORTH Yorkshire is bucking the national trend as figures suggest rural crime in the county has fallen by more than 16 per cent, whilst the rest of the country has seen a rise.

Figures from NFU Mutual’s rural crime report 2018 show the cost of such crime in North Yorkshire fell from £1,146,300 in 2016 to £954,600 in 2017, a reduction of 16.7 per cent. By contrast, the cost of rural crime nationally rose by 13.4 per cent over the same period.

Police say the figures demonstrate significant progress is being made to tackle rural crime in North Yorkshire, but recognise there is still more to do.

Nationally, rural crime cost the UK an estimated £44.5m in 2017, up from £39.2m the previous year, and the highest total since 2013.

The fall in North Yorkshire is one of the biggest decreases in the country, and follows the launch in 2016 of the force's rural taskforce, a team of officers, PCSOs and staff dedicated to tackling rural crime - the biggest taskforce of its kind in the UK. Rural crime costs were also down on average by 6.5 per cent across the North-East.

Assistant Chief Constable Amanda Oliver said: “It’s very good news that the annual cost of rural crime in North Yorkshire has fallen by nearly £200,000.

“We take rural crime extremely seriously, and this reduction is testament to the hard work, professionalism and dedication of our neighbourhood policing teams and rural taskforce, as well as the vital support we get from those who live and work in our rural communities.

“The figures show we are making significant progress here in North Yorkshire. However, we are certainly not complacent, and we recognise that there is more to do. We are committed to continuing to improve the policing service we provide to our rural communities.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “This report reinforces the findings of the recent national rural crime survey that crime is a significant challenge for North Yorkshire’s rural communities. However, it also reinforces that significant progress is being made to address these challenges in North Yorkshire.

“NFU Mutual finds the cost of crime here is down 16.7 per cent in the past year compared to a 13 per cent increase across the UK. This is on top of the rural crime survey’s results which show our North Yorkshire rural taskforce is having an impact at improving the way police are perceived to be dealing with rural crime.”