New machinery sales might ebb and flow, but you can always be sure of a healthy black market for small farm and forestry equipment, particularly when the winter nights draw in.

That is partly because thieves can pile heaps of small gear into the back of a white van pretty quickly, but also because the kit is near-impossible to trace.

However, Steve Bullman hopes to change all that with a stolen equipment website to identify small equipment such as nicked chainsaws. It is called Arbsafe and is an offshoot of the Arbtalk online forum that currently has almost 20,000 members.

The Arbsafe website is free to join – all you need to do is provide a few basic details about your stolen equipment including serial numbers, stand-out features and the date of the theft. Members’ personal details remain private, so there’s no danger of thieves using it to their advantage.

There is a mapping function to display kit that has gone missing in your area and Mr Bullman reckons the site should also be useful for those running auctions that might want to check the legitimacy of particular machines up for sale. You can also elect to receive alerts when machines have been stolen.

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