How to protect yourself from GPS theft from farm machinery

17 April 2023

An image of a GPS in a tractor

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.

According to the latest figures from NFU Mutual, the cost of GPS theft has risen by up to 30% during the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period from last year.

GPS theft 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.

Reports of increased GPS theft in the South West and North East of England have raised concerns that this trend may be set to continue for the rest of the UK at a time when farmers are already facing increasing financial pressures.

What can I do to help prevent GPS theft?

To help protect against GPS theft, NFU Mutual provides the following advice:

  • Activate PIN security on GPS kit with your own unique number if available.
  • If your system is not PIN enabled, mark your postcode to deter thieves and trace your property back to you. 
  • Keep tractors and combines with GPS fitted stored out of sight when possible.
  • Remove GPS kit when possible from tractors and other machinery and store it securely when not in use.
  • Record serial numbers and photograph your kit.
  • Check serial numbers of second-hand kit offered for sale.

It is also important members report any suspicious behaviour, particularly vehicle registration numbers, to the police via 101.

Find out how NFU Next Generation Forum chair Eveey Hunter has fortified her farm following the theft of £60,000 worth of GPS components:

What is the NFU doing?

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.

We are also working with NAVCIS (the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service) and the head of the NRCU (National Rural Crime Unit) Superintendent Andy Huddleston as well as ensuring the issue is raised at the next National Rural Crime Network Board meeting.

Tack action against rural crime

Visit our rural crime hot topic to find all the latest news on how the NFU is working towards tackling all forms of rural crime.

NFU members will also find access to a number of member discounts on crime prevention equipment.

You can also find advice on how to prevent against different types of rural crime using the resources below:

See our manifesto asks

Our manifesto

Our general election manifesto – Farming for Britain's Future – outlines our key asks of the next government to ensure farmers and growers can continue to deliver for the environment, economy and local communities while producing more of the great British food we all enjoy.

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