A farmer made thousands of pounds by selling scrap metal and old farm equipment – before it was taken by thieves.

Cambridgeshire farmer James Peck said he searched his Dry Drayton farm and got rid of over £7000 worth of long forgotten metal.

Mr Peck said: “I pride myself on keeping my farming business neat and tidy, so it really surprised me when I managed to haul 11 trailers of scrap away.

“I went at it properly and got rid of old gates, wheels, metal posts, fencing, and even ancient imperial nuts and bolts.”

With scrap metal fetching £180/tonne it made sense to clear up before someone decided to steal it, said Mr Peck.

“I filled a bucket of archaic brass taps from one of my outbuildings and that fetched £75. It’s quite frightening how much it’s all worth.”

Mr Peck added: “You are taking away temptation if you get rid of your own scrap and make money at the same time.

“If you don’t want to take it away then you can get a reputable company to drop off a skip.

“They will charge for haulage but you will still be doing yourself a favour if you fill it with your unwanted metal.”

Mr Peck chairs the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire branch of the Country Land and Business Association.

The association is urging farmers to reduce the risk of crime by collecting any obvious scrap metal laying about in fields and barns.

“The price is right,” explained Nicola Currie, CLA East regional director.

Farmers should make sure they cashed in on scrap metal before someone else made a quick buck at their expense.

“Clearing your property will also deter thieves, reducing the opportunity for your farm to be a target.”

The CLA has welcomed a recent indication that the government plans to clamp down on metal theft by banning scrap dealers from paying in cash.

“Scrap metal theft has increased dramatically over the past few years and is having a significant impact on rural businesses and communities,” said Mrs Currie.

“Cash payments are making it impossible to trace thieves. We believe that taking the hard cash out of the system will go a long way to reducing metal theft.”