There has been a sharp increase in rural crime this year – with criminal gangs targeting expensive machinery on farms in remote areas. Farming groups have reported a marked increase in thefts of quad bikes and tractors – especially in areas with links to the Continent, such as Kent with its port of Dover making the transportation of stolen items more convenient for thieves, who often steal to order.
The top three items stolen in the south east are quad bikes, tractors – particularly those worth more than £50,000 and diesel and heating fuel.
A leading insurance broker specialising in the farming sector reports a staggering 90% of its agents have reported a rise in rural crime –with 100% of their clients saying they are worried about this issue.
80% of farmers believe rural crime in the south east is planned, with 80% of offences being committed by gangs crossing county borders to carry out the raids. 30% of these offenders are believed to have local knowledge, leaving 50% exploring areas to find target before planning and executing the thefts.
The most common theft is of farm machinery, which nationally cost the farming industry £30 million in 2008 – but which rose to £42 million in 2009. As much of this machinery is exported, it is easy to understand why the south east suffers proportionally more theft than the rest of the country.
Some easy steps which can help defeat these thieves include:
Farm and Outbuildings
Restrict access to your farm land and property with locked gates
Ensure your home, farm and outbuildings are secure. Use British Standard locks and high security closed-shackle padlocks
Consider fitting intruder alarms, CCTV and good outside security lighting, check regularly and ensure they work
Lock windows and doors, remove keys from locks and keep out of visible reach
Mark equipment and property with farm name and postcode, use a UV pen, engraving, stamping , tagging or forensic marking
Hide valuable items from view and secure in a locked outbuilding
Consider joining your local Farmwatch scheme
Vehicles, Trailers and Quad Bikes
Secure and immobilise vehicles and equipment when not in use
Remove keys from the ignition and keep them somewhere secure
Don't leave quad bikes or trailers unattended
Consider storing vehicles and property in a secured building, if possible secured to the wall or floor, or inside a caged area
Mark trailers and property with farm name and postcode, use a UV pen, engraving, stamping, tagging or forensic marking
Some General Tips:
Where possible, install fuel tanks within secure buildings or cages made from a material resistant to attack
Thieves may stake-out your property in advance by making up an excuse to call round. Try to take a note of any unknown callers registration number and report the incident to police
Never advertise you are away by leaving notes for tradesmen or delivery drivers
Ensure you have adequate insurance cover
When you are away, ask neighbours and friends to keep an eye on you r property – and be prepared to do the same for them
Report any suspicious behaviour to the police
Insurance is a key to protecting your property and your belongings. As rural crime continues to escalate, talk to a company who can really help you. Call Westhill Insurance Services today and let them offer you some pragmatic and sensible advice as to how you can protect your farm and its equipment – as well as your own personal belongings and property.
Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.