A Gloucestershire farmer is calling on rural communities to be more vigilant after more than £100,000 worth of machinery was stolen from his property in 10 months.

A £35,000 John Deere tractor was the latest piece of kit to be stolen from Daren Mills’ farm near Cheltenham, despite his efforts to protect the property from thieves.

He also had two other John Deere tractors stolen last September, while thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to a hay baler when thieves ripped apart its wiring.

In February, a 4×4 was also taken, but was later recovered by police.

Mr Bills, of Whitehall Farm, Brockhampton, said there was little more he could do to secure his machinery and that thieves would carry on regardless.

He said help from the public was the only way to crack down on rural crime. “It’s just unbelievable that it could have happened so many times,” Mr Mills told the Gloucestershire Echo.

“Every time it has happened the tractors have been safely locked away, but it seems like whatever we do they’ll carry on regardless. To lose tractors worth so much is a big blow to the working of the farm.”

Despite increased awareness of the need to protect agricultural property, farm thefts were still continuing, Mr Mills said.

“It’s worrying to know that people find it so easy to get into your property and steal from it.

“It’s a big problem because they will steal anything they can get their hands on, whether it’s old machinery to sell as scrap or a very expensive tractor.”

Gloucestershire NFU chairman, John Tingey, said the number of agricultural thefts showed the need for farmers to fit immobilisers to tractors left in unsupervised places.

“The police have been making great progress dealing with this issue, but it’s down to individuals to help themselves as well,” he said.

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