Police are urging farmers in the East Riding of Yorkshire to step up security following a spate of tractor GPS thefts.
Thieves broke into more than a dozen tractors across Holderness overnight on Friday (25 September) and stole their GPS systems, along with the roof receivers.
Humberside Police are appealing for information on thefts in Ottringham, Halsham and Coniston.
PCSO Darren Bainton, of the force’s rural crime team, said: “We’re encouraging farmers to remove the screens and other valuables when leaving their vehicles and, where possible, parking them in secure, alarmed buildings.
“If that isn’t possible, park them in well-lit areas covered by CCTV. Be on the lookout and report suspicious behaviour to us via 101, and always dial 999 if a crime is in progress.”
Andrew Boothroyd, who farms in Holderness, confirmed on Twitter (@EastenderAndrew) that he was one of the victims.
10 tips to prevent tractor GPS equipment theft
- Remove GPS guidance receivers, aerials and antenna globes from tractors when not in use and keep them in a secure, locked place whenever possible.
- Consider fitting security tethers or brackets to stop units being removed.
- Mark your postcode on GPS units either with a UV pen, engraving tool of forensic marking system such as Datatag.
- Store machinery in locked buildings whenever possible.
- Where locking machines away isn’t an option, consider fitting mains- or battery-operated alarms to cover the perimeter of areas where machines are stored.
- Check CCTV and alarms regularly to ensure they work – they should be placed where they won’t be triggered by animals or foliage.
- Record machinery serial numbers and photograph kit to help police identify and recover stolen items.
- Inform employees about the security arrangements that are expected of them.
- Join local farmwatch groups to be warned of crime trends and share intelligence.
- Report suspicious behaviour or vehicles to the police on 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress.
Source: NFU Mutual
Spate of thefts
Humberside Police has released the following details of the thefts:
- Six tractors had their GPS trackers and satellite roof receivers stolen at a secure compound in an agricultural service business on Withernsea Road, Halsham.
- A tractor and a sprayer parked securely in a farmyard on Swine Lane, Coniston, had their GPS tracker systems stolen.
- Thieves entered an agricultural service business compound and removed the GPS systems from two tractor units stored at the facility at about 11pm on Friday 24 September on Station Road, Ottringham.
- Two tractors burgled in Patrington Road, Welwick, with a Trimble GPS system and an Agco tracker stolen.
- Roof receiver taken from a Massey Ferguson tractor parked up in a yard in South Leys Road, Withernsea.
Police found one of the stolen GPS trackers thrown away in a hedgerow near the Rimswell Water Tower. The device has been sent to the crime scene investigation team for forensic testing.
Anyone with information on the thefts, or who is offered GPS kits for sale outside the dealer network, is asked to call Humberside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The theft of tractor GPS equipment is approaching epidemic proportions on farms across Europe and in the UK, with incidents confirmed in a number of counties across the UK.