Criminals are posing as pest controllers in order to build trusting relationships with landowners and gain access to rural estates, a study into the new tactics used by thieves has revealed.

The research, sponsored by rural insurers NFU Mutual, used interviews with a group of criminals awaiting sentencing for theft in rural areas to paint a vivid picture of the considered and manipulative tactics used to scope out potential targets.

Some of those questioned admitted to asking landowners for permission to go lamping to help control rabbit numbers, but then using the time to scout the area for opportunities for theft.

?If the farmer thinks we?re helping out, we?ll come back,? one criminal said. “He?ll get to trust us, while all the time we?re looking around to see what?s there, you know, the chainsaws and that. If he?s got a quad bike or two, that?s a bonus.?

At other times of year, the criminals said they made contact with estate owners by offering help with general maintenance or crop picking.

The rest of this article appears in the 20th June issue of Shooting Times.

What is YOUR opinion?

Join other ST readers in our forums to discuss your views.

Like this article? Mark this page on a social bookmarking website…