How to protect yourself from GPS theft from farm machinery

Ali Capper and her team plant new apple trees on her farm

Following an increase in GPS thefts, the NFU is urging farmers to protect their equipment and take appropriate steps to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to gain access.

The NFU first saw a surge in thefts pre-harvest 2020 but the trend has continued to rapidly spread into a nationwide issue, leaving police and insurance companies to deal with cases from all across the country.

Thefts of GPS systems is a major concern for farmers. The equipment can be costly to replace and can massively disrupt day to day farming operations. The technology plays a vital role in modern farming and thefts of systems can take time to replace, causing delays during busy periods such as harvest.

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In one case, NFU county chair for Lancashire Lisa Edwards fell victim to tech-savvy thieves. Although they took appropriate measures to secure their tractors in an alarmed barn, they were unable to remove the GPS dome from the combine. It was stolen alongside the screen used to operate the combine. It had huge consequences meaning harvest was delayed while a temporary screen was fitted. Altogether it cost nearly £10,000.

The NFU will continue to work closely with the National Police Chiefs Council lead for agricultural plant theft to tackle the new crime and raise the profile of this issue. It is also important members report any suspicious behaviour, particularly vehicle registration numbers, to the police via 101.

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