11 February 2000

Anti-theft scheme launched in north

A NEW national registration scheme designed to deter theft of farm and construction machinery is being launched following a pilot phase in Northants.

According to Don Hollyoak of Towcester-based Farming Services, the Thiefbeaters registration scheme goes beyond existing registers (see farmers weekly Machinery, 28th January) in the extent to which each machine is identified.

"In addition to implanting Datatag coded transponders, machines are deep etched with the identifying code and also marked in discrete ways," he explains.

"This way, we apply up to 50 individual forms of identification, all of which are recorded on the ownership database.

"In addition, non-destruct decals are placed on the machine to warn would-be thieves that the machine is protected by the scheme."

Machine owners using the service get a registration document detailing some, but not all, identifier locations and six colour photographs of overall and detail views of the equipment.

"Unless there is absolute proof of ownership, recovered machines have to be sold off or scrapped – and, in some cases, thieves end up getting to keep the machines they have stolen," says Mr Hollyoak.

"With up to 50 identifier locations per machine, it is almost impossible for them all to be removed; and we only need one to prove ownership."

In addition to maintaining its own database, Thiefbeaters-registered machines are logged on databases run by Datatag and The Equipment Register (TER).

The company plans a nationwide team of operators to provide the marking and logging service, which costs from £45, with a quad or tractor around the £65 mark.

&#8226 The contact phone number for The Agricultural Machinery Register (FW Jan 28) is 01270-610612.

The scheme is operated centrally and by local franchisees. Farming Services (Thiefbeaters) can be contacted on 0870-6064725. &#42