New theft prevention Act intended to deter rural criminals

New legislation has been passed which should make it less attractive for rural criminals to target quad bikes and ATVs by requiring manufacturers to fit immobilisers and other theft prevention measures.

The Equipment Theft (Prevention) Bill, which was sponsored by Conservative MP for Buckingham Greg Smith, supported by Conservative peer Lord Blencathra, will give the home secretary new powers to legislate in this area.

See also: Security kit to protect your quad bike from thieves

Under the regulations, the government will be able to:

  • Require manufacturers to fit immobilisers to new vehicles to protect them from hot-wiring
  • Insist forensic markings are incorporated to help identify individual vehicles
  • Establish a registration database to help police reunite stolen vehicles with their owners.

ATV theft is estimated to have cost rural insurer NFU Mutual £2.2m in 2021.

NFU vice-president David Exwood said: “Farmers across the country will be delighted that the government and police now have wider powers to tackle increasing incidents of equipment theft on farm.

“Quads are often one of the main things that attract criminals onto farms, which often leads to further thefts.”

The new legislation has involved extensive input from both the NFU and NFU Mutual, working with the Home Office, the National Rural Crime Unit and other industry organisations.

The NFU is now calling for secondary legislation to widen the scope of the new Act to include other agricultural equipment, especially GPS systems, which are increasingly targeted by rural criminals.

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