Lock it or Lose it: Preventative measures to combat rural crime

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Thefts of agricultural equipment are an ever-increasing problem for farmers, a recent NFU survey found 42% of respondents have fallen victim to at least one incident of theft in the last year. 

The NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report found in 2019, the cost of rural crime rose too £54.3 million which was mostly driven by thefts of high-value tractors, quad bikes, and other farm vehicles. 

For that reason, the NFU has launched the ‘Lock it or Lose it’ initiative to re-emphasise simple preventative methods that can be put in place to reduce the chances of becoming a victim, it includes a range of member discounts on crime prevention equipment. 

Prevention is key 

The NFU is urging members to protect their equipment and take appropriate steps to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to gain access.

The NFU’s Rural Crime Hub has a wealth of information on types of thefts and how best members can protect themselves against them. Download our Farm Security Guide: Preventing & Reporting Crime for more prevention tips and reporting advice. 

Top tips to prevent machinery theft happening on your land:
  • Where possible, vehicles should be housed in a lockable garage or building, ideally with security lighting installed to the perimeter.
  • Vehicles should always be locked when not in use, with the keys kept hidden and locked away in a secure location.
  • Keep recordings or photographs of serial numbers and vehicles as these can be crucial in recovery, should the worst happen.
  • Invest in a bespoke ATV security device or a quality padlock and chain.
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition, even if you only briefly leave your vehicle or machinery unattended.
  • Keep gates to yards closed as open gates can be an open invitation to thieves.
  • Mark tools and equipment with DNA marking devices.
  • Sign up to CESAR, an agricultural equipment registration scheme, which increases the chance of recovering stolen goods by helping police identify stolen machinery.
  • Make sure the Vehicle Identification Number is etched on windows.
  • Install immobilisers, chip keys and trackers as these are a simple way to deter criminals or track vehicles and can be fitted easily by an experienced agricultural engineer.

NFU security discounts 

The NFU has a range of security discounts including savings on CCTV systems, dash cams, asset marking and machinery trackers. Eligible NFU members can also benefit from the NFU Illegal Encampment Service and the NFU Fly-Grazing Service.