Stolen farm machinery: Case studies

THEFT STUDY 1: Paul Weston, near Stoke on Trent

Twenty-two-year-old farmer Paul Weston set up a silage contracting business two years ago with a Claas Jaguar 890 self-propelled forager.

Parked in an isolated building with the rest of his kit, the machine was stolen just before New Year’s Eve.

He and partner Laura Ibbs followed its tracks for a number of miles and alerted the police. Frustratingly, the local force had other things to fill their time and took very little interest.

When officers eventually got on the case Mr Weston got a phone call to say they thought they had found his machine. However it quickly became apparent that it was a case of mistaken identity – the police had tracked down a John Deere machine. No trace has since been seen of the Mr Weston’s Claas forager.

THEFT STUDY 2: Simon Thomas, Cirencester

Thieves took Simon Thomas’s year-old Fendt 820 tractor from a locked grainstore – and that was on top of the loss of a JCB Loadall two years previously.

Thieves used bolt-croppers to open the shed and had their own universal Fendt key which they used to unlock the tractor and drive it away.

But, in a turn-up for the books, the tractor was recently found by gamekeepers on an estate 10 miles away. It has since been returned to the farm just in time for spring work.

“It was a massive relief to get the tractor back,” says Mr Thomas. “We were really lucky it hadn’t been damaged and none of the implement control-boxes had been taken – they come to more than £10,000 on their own.”

“We’ve since had immobilisers fitted to all our kit.”

THEFT STUDY 3: Will Forbes, Ely

Will Forbes of Riverfen Farms, Ely, had a particular problem with the theft of electric fence energisers from his farm. His solution was to fit a GPS tracker – in this case a Traakit unit – into the energiser unit so that as soon as it’s moved it lets him know by sending a mobile phone text and email.

Not only can he see where his stolen energiser is going (and report the theft to the police) but it also means that the farm’s 8000 acres of lettuces aren’t left vulnerable to rabbit damage – a much more serious problem than the loss of the energisers themselves.