Keep your eyes peeled in the countryside this autumn

Our country mouse suggests rural dwellers keep their eyes peeled for both thieves and edible mushrooms

Rural crime, unlike its urban counterpart, is on the increase. This is not a surprise given the pressures on rural police forces and many readers will be well aware, through their neighbourhood-watch schemes, of the shocking reality of break-ins to steal mowers, quad bikes, horse boxes and garden statuary.

Now, the insurer NFU Mutual has released data showing that the cost of rural crime reached £44.5 million in 2013. There has been a sharp increase in sheep rustling, with up to 150 sheep being stolen at a time and then, via an illegal abattoir, reaching machinery are being stolen to order. We all need to review our own security, but surely this increase will persuade the Government to reassess its rural-crime policy.

At the weekend, the remnants of Hurricane Bertha blew through Britain, leaving floods and broken plants, but for those looking for a silver lining in the clouds, it’s prompted the fruiting of many edible mushrooms.

I found a large patch of bay bolete, which proved delicious when sautéed with some garlic and parsley. Keep your eyes peeled for thieves and fungi.

* This article was first published in Country Life magazine on August 13 2014

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