Alert! Vehicle security in rural areas

Post-Covid, there has been a steady increase in rural vehicle thefts, with some members reporting such thefts across the North. Vehicles targeted ranges from Land Rovers to quadbikes and ATVs.

While the cost of rural crime dipped slightly overall during the pandemic, indications reveal that in 2022 thieves have been making up for lost time. And with the cost of living crisis biting and prices of essential farm equipment and fuel soaring, members are encouraged to make their property and belongings as ‘theft proof’ as possible.

Ways to keep your vehicles and tools safe from thieves include fitting recognised tracking devices; storing machinery in locked outbuildings or containers when not in use, securing quadbikes and other ATVs with fixed ground anchors and appropriate security chains and padlocks.

Keys should be stored in a dedicated key safe and pin codes to operate vehicle systems should be changed from the default setting. Trailers should be fitted with a wheel clamp and a hitch lock. GPS units should also be removed from vehicles when not in use.

Finally, you should be ensuring that all serial numbers, makes and models are recorded and that every item from the combine harvester to the chainsaw has been photographed (this will help you be reunited with your property if it is stolen). For ease you can use the online National Property Register.

The cost of agricultural vehicle theft claims stands at more than £9m a year in the UK, as organised criminal gangs target farmyards for high-value tractors, GPS systems and trailers. Quad and ATV theft cost £2m, with incidents usually peaking in the winter months.

The CLA North team is in regular contact with police forces to ensure the problem of rural crime is not ignored. We work with rural task forces, farm watch schemes and the National Rural Crime Network, and encourage farmers, land managers and landowners to record and report suspicious vehicles and activity in their area.

If you see anything suspicious, or are a victim of crime it is vital you report it by calling police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.