1 August 1997

Deter bike thieves

THE largest rural police force in Wales has launched a campaign to persuade farmers to take more care of their quad bikes.

Dyfed Powys Police crime prevention specialists Dick Pope and Keith Williams opened the NFU backed initiative at the Royal Welsh show. It aims to make owners more aware of basic self-help security measures, and the advantages of applying for Q registration plates, so identification numbers are recorded at the DVLC in Swansea.

"A total of 25 quad bikes valued at more than £74,000 were stolen in the Dyfed Powys area over the last year, and very few owners were able to provide chassis numbers," said Sgt Pope. "By filling in Form V55-5, which is obtainable from any local registration office, farmers can ensure that details are on record. They will get a tax exempt disc. The service is free, and worth using even if a bike is never used on the road."

Total national losses were not recorded, but could exceed £2.5m a year in the UKs 38 rural police areas. Professional quad bike theft was a growing problem, encouraged by the difficulty of identification and demand from former Eastern bloc countries.

"Farmers also make life easy for thieves by adopting a very casual attitude to security. While they might lock up a car, bikes are seen as working machines and keys are frequently left in ignitions. We know that quad bikes are being stolen to order and can be loaded quickly and easily into Transit type vans."

Sgt Pope added that farmers should also take great care when buying used bikes as stolen machines could be seized and returned to their owners.

ATV safety was a topic at an HSE press briefing. David Mattey, HM chief agricultural inspector, said some complicated computer modelling was being used to look at the interaction between drivers and roll bars designed for ATVs during an accident.

"Some manufacturers have expressed concern about whether the roll bar offers protection, or creates another risk," Mr Mattey said. "We are trying to provide proof that it can reduce risk to a driver."

Get your ATVdetails registered at the DVLCat Swansea by applying for Qregistration. Thats the message from crime prevention specialists, Dick Pope (right) and Keith Williams.