Rural crime cost the countryside an estimated £52.7million during 2011, an annual rise of 6%, figures from insurer NFU Mutual have revealed.

Experts blame poor economic conditions and rising commodity prices for the rise.

Power tools, fuel and quad bikes were the most commonly stolen items.

But country dwellers are fighting back with creative recession-busting security measures, such as keeping ?guard geese? or storing their quad bikes behind a bull.

NFU Mutual Group chief executive, Lindsay Sinclair, said: ?It is a sad fact, but the countryside has long been seen as an easy target for criminals.?

?Encouragingly, country folk are not taking the blight lying down, but are fighting back in various ways.?

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