As the nights draw in following the end of British Summer Time, farmers are advised to ramp up security to deter rural thieves.
According to NFU Mutual, rural crime cost the UK an estimated £44.4m in 2017 – and this figure is set to rise further for 2018.
Crime happens year round, but the darker nights offer more opportunities for criminals to target farms and rural businesses.
Farmers should take steps to ensure their machinery, livestock and equipment is protected, and to secure outbuildings.
Here are nine simple steps to take to avoid becoming a victim:
Install CCTV cameras to help you watch over the most vulnerable areas – or consider dummy CCTV cameras as a cheaper alternative.
2. Tractors and farm machinery
Keep vehicles locked and out of sight and consider “layers of security” such as immobilisers, chip keys and CESAR security marking.
3. Quad bikes and ATVs
Remove keys when not in use, consider tracking devices, fit wheel clamps and/or locking posts and park larger vehicles in front of access doors.
Have a look around your farm for vulnerable areas. Fit good lighting to outbuildings, yards and houses to discourage criminals. They don’t like to be seen.
5. Fuel tanks
Store fuel in a secure tank within a compound or a shed, keeping them locked and alarmed.
6. Trailers and horse boxes
Easy targets when left outside in isolated areas. Fit locks and wheel locks when not in use. Paint your postcode on the roof to enable police helicopters to spot it.
7. Tools and farm equipment
Store power tools in lockable storage containers fixed to the ground or the wall. Take photos of tools, record serial numbers and consider Datatag security marking.
8. Outbuildings and sheds
Ensure valuable equipment is stored in a secure building behind a strong locked door using locks that comply with British Standards, good quality locking bars and high security padlocks.
Regularly check fields with livestock and keep fences, hedges and perimeters in good repair. Always mark your stock using a recommended method, but also consider advanced marking systems using coded microdots.
(Source: NFU Mutual and police forces)
Report rural crime anonymously on hotline
Farmers and landowners can now report all incidences of rural crime and suspicious activity to a bespoke hotline.
The NFU has partnered with the charity Crimestoppers to launch the Rural Crime Reporting Line, a service through which you can anonymously give information about four rural crimes: large-scale industrial fly-tipping, hare coursing, livestock theft and machinery theft.
To report rural crime, call 0800 783 0137 or visiting the Rural Crime Reporting Line