In a recent survey 70% of the NFU Mutual?s 300 branch offices reported an increase in rural crime in their area compared with the same period in 2009.

The most commonly stolen items are quad bikes but livestock are in the top 10 including pedigree dogs.

According to the survey rural crime is shifting from sporadic, opportunist thefts to highly organised operations relying on detailed surveillance and planning.

NFU spokesman, Will Howell, added: ?We have seen a pattern of crimes taking place on Friday and Saturday nights as the criminals know that the police response rates for isolated areas are slower at these times. There have also been a lot of thefts while owners have left vehicles or equipment to go for lunch or tea, which suggests the thieves are watching and waiting for their opportunity in an organised way. People in the countryside need to think harder about security.?

NFU Mutual chief claims manager, John Kenny, said: ?It?s disappointing to see that rural crime is on the increase and that rural homes and businesses have become a source of rich pickings for thieves. This year?s survey highlights the importance of good security measures and vigilance in the battle against rural crime.?

TOP 10 RURAL THEFTS

1. Quad bikes

2. Power tools

3. Land Rovers & 4X4s

4. Tractors

5. Trailers

6. Fuel

7. Scrap metal

8. Lawnmowers & garden tools

9. Horse tack

10. Livestock