spray containers in chemical store© Tim Scrivener

Police have warned farmers to be on the alert after thousands of pounds worth of agrichemicals were stolen from two farms in Dorset.

Police were called at 7.45am on 24 April 2015 to Woodsford Farms, Woodsford, following a report of a burglary to a chemical store.

Farm manager Mark Edgecome told Farmers Weekly that criminals had broken into the premises at some point on Thursday night.

They stole about 250 litres of sprays, worth about £4,700, which was a mix of SDHI fungicides and Roundup, he said. Other cereals herbicides had been left where they were.

See also: One in four farms hit by rural crime, says Home Office survey

Mr Edgecome said the chemical store was well out of sight, so he believed the thieves had an idea of what they were after.

“They went through locked gates on the roadside and then drove across four fields before they got themselves to the chemical store,” he said. “Then they went through the double doors of the store, which were well-secured.”

The incident followed a break-in to a farm outbuilding in nearby Puddletown, Dorchester, on 22 April, where a quantity of herbicides was also stolen. No arrests have been made.

As part of its annual crime survey, NFU Mutual warned last year that it had seen an increase in claims from farmers who had experienced thefts of either pesticides or fertilisers. In one case, chemicals worth £20,000 were stolen in a single raid.

A Dorset police spokesman said farmers were being reminded to check their security, especially around storage of machinery and power tools, fuel and chemicals.

If anyone was concerned about security and would like further advice, or would like to report any suspicious activity, they should contact Dorset Police on 101.

In a third incident, police were also called to a farm in Wareham, Dorset, after offenders stole four steel gavlanised gates from within the farm grounds.

It is thought the crime occurred between 10pm on Friday 24 April and 8am on Saturday 25 April.