Rural crime: 'It's important to protect your well-being as much as your property'

As part of National Rural Crime Week, the FCN's Mark Thomas blogs to encourage members to get talking
Mark Thomas fly-tipping
Mark Thomas of the FCN blogs about the importance of farmers considering their well-being, in what can be an isolated and lonely industry.

Living in north Hampshire, I am conscious of the impacts of crime on the farming industry in this area, in particular machinery theft, hare coursing and fly tipping.

These crimes not only result in expense and practical problems, but they can also take a personal toll on farming families and others who live and work in the rural community.

People working on farms often spend long periods alone, and crime can be scary. It can cause disruptions to the daily schedule and adds to the general levels of stress and anxiety that many farmers feel.

This is why, in addition to taking steps to protect and secure the farm, it’s important to protect and secure your wellbeing.

Bottling up the ever-growing frustrations of modern farming life is not healthy. We all need a ‘pressure valve’ to regulate stress levels and dip into our individual stress management toolbox when things get too much. What works for each of us will be different, but at the Farming Community Network (FCN) we believe that talking something out often helps.

It may be with a friend, family member or colleague. Or if you prefer to speak to someone outside of your usual contacts, give FCN a call. We have 300 volunteers, all of whom come from farming backgrounds. They understand the farming way of life, can empathise with the challenges, are good listeners, and talk your language. Whoever you chose, the important thing is not to bottle up how a crime incident has left you feeling.

Where I live, there is more happening to help farmers be more resilient to rural crime. WhatsApp groups and other forums to connect people and share information. More support from the rural police to offer advice, respond more quickly, and to deploy technology to monitor crime and collect evidence.

We will never stop all rural crime, but we can take steps to protect our homes, businesses and possessions. And very importantly, we are so fortunate to belong to a wider farming community where help is available to support individuals to process the personal impacts of crime when it occurs.

Contact FCN

Mark is a staff member with the Farming Community Network (FCN), a charity and volunteer organisation providing support to people who live and work on farms.

The FCN helpline is open every day from 7am to 11pm, staffed mainly by volunteers who understand farming.

Telephone: 03000 111 999 Email:

A wealth of free information and resources about personal and business resilience is available at

CLA rural crime hub

The CLA has a dedicated rural crime hub offering members advice and support. Access it here.