Thieves target tractor GPS systems in Dorset

High-tech thieves have been targeting tractor GPS systems from tractors.

Dorset’s rural crime team has reported that three John Deere StarFire satellite receivers and one screen have been stolen in the past 10 days.

Wiltshire Police has also reported the theft of GPS systems from Deere tractors on farms in the Longbridge Deverill and Tisbury areas over the Bank Holiday weekend (24- 26 May).

See also: Farmers advised to ensure GPS is insured against theft

The GPS (global positioning systems) are worth thousands and they are often fitted outside the cab, making them an easy target.

Police say removing equipment from tractors and keeping it locked away is the easiest option.

Insurers say this type of theft is becoming more commonplace and farmers should check their insurance policies to ensure that they are covered.

If equipment is being moved between vehicles, it is essential to ensure appropriate cover.

John Deere is now offering a new PIN-code locking system to help deter the theft of  valuable GreenStar in-cab displays and StarFire satellite receivers from their tractors and machinery. It has been designed to make it impossible to use the components if they are stolen.

Security tips to prevent the theft of tractor GPS systems

  • Consider fitting security tethers to devices to stop them being removed.
  • Consider marking these with UV pen or engraving your postcode or forensic marking such as Datatag.
  • Store machinery inside locked barns if possible.
  • Where locking machines away isn’t an option, consider fitting mains or battery-operated alarms to outbuildings or around the perimeter of areas where machines are stored.
  • If you are considering fitting CCTV, then consider fitting this as well as alarms as part of a system. 
  • CCTV and intruder alarms will deter most thieves, but make sure they are checked regularly to ensure they will work when you need them and they are placed in a position that won’t be triggered by animals or foliage moving in the wind.
  • Record machinery serial numbers and photographs for reference. 
  • Let employees know the security arrangements that are expected of them while working on the farm.
  • Encourage farm staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or vehicles to the police. 
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