Quad bikes are top of the list for criminals targeting farms in the run-up to Christmas, police and insurers have warned.
NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Tim Price said quad bikes were being stolen from farms all over the country.
“Criminals appear to be targeting quad bikes most on farms at the moment,” he added.
“While other areas are starting to show signs that better security is preventing thefts, quad bikes are still disappearing. There is no let-up at all.”
According to the latest NFU Mutual Rural Crime Survey, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) – also known as quad bikes – were the second most commonly targeted items on farms by criminals, after tools.
In 2013, the cost of quad bike thefts to the industry rose by an estimated 14%, the survey found.
Over the past fortnight, police forces across the UK have issued alerts to farmers pointing to a spike in quad bike thefts.
Durham Constabulary has called on farmers and members of the rural community for help to stop quad bikes being stolen in Teesdale.
A quad bike was stolen from a farm in Hamsterley overnight on Monday (15 December).
It followed the theft of a green Yamaha quad bike from a farm at Woodland on Sunday (14 December), which was left with keys in the ignition. The bike was later found hidden behind a wall on the west side of Woodland village.
Last week, thieves targeted several farms in the county. They made off with a quad bike from a farm in Arkengathdale, Weardale, overnight on Monday 8 December and another from a farm in Daddry Shield, Weardale, overnight on Tuesday 9 December.
On Thursday 11 December, a Yamaha quad bike was stolen from an unlocked farm shed in Newbiggin.
Neighbourhood Inspector Kevin Tuck of Durham Police said: “The crime spree continues and while there are police activities and operations to deal with the current crime spree, we need the community to tell us what’s happening and make sure there are no easy options for criminals.”
In North Yorkshire, thieves broke into a secure outbuilding overnight Saturday 6 December at Woodhall Farm, Whitby, and stole a green Yamaha 450cc Grizzly Quad.
On 1 December, thieves broke into a garage at Bankside Farm in Kildale, North Yorkshire, and stole a red Honda quad bike (pictured above) and a red Gas Gas trials bike.
Avon and Somerset Police said a third quad bike in days was stolen from the Mendip area overnight on 15 December.
And a green Kawasaki 300cc quad bike was stolen on 5 December from a farm in Hawarden, Flintshire.
Tips to prevent quad bike theft (courtesy of NFU Mutual)
- Remove keys when quad bikes are unattended
- Ensure quad bikes are secured in locked barns or buildings overnight
- Consider tracking devices and/or immobilisers for expensive machines
- Use security lighting in yards and drives
- Make sure yard gates are secured to deter opportunist thieves
- Physically secure quad bikes by means of suitable locking devices or heavy-duty security chain and padlocks
- Protect quad bikes by registering them with Cesar