Police in Dorset have issued a fresh warning following a spate of tractor GPS (global positioning system) thefts.
Dorset Police’s rural crime team said thefts of John Deere satellite systems are “on the rise again”.
We've recently seen a rise in @JohnDeere #StarFire systems being reported #Stolen in #Devon. If you have a #Tractor fitted with this system, ensure you've recorded the serial number. If it's a StarFire 6000, ensure software is updated so that you can enable PIN code pic.twitter.com/OctAmHueFZ
— Rural Affairs – Devon (@DCPoliceRural_D) December 12, 2019
A number of thefts in other counties in the South West have also been reported during the past week.
Farmers, contractors and operators of machinery fitted with satellite guidance systems are being urged to take action now to prevent further thefts.
Following a spate of thefts last spring of GreenStar in-cab displays and StarFire satellite receivers from tractors and machinery, John Deere introduced a new pin-code locking system to deter thieves.
Owners of John Deere StarFire 6000 systems should be aware that there is a new software version available for the system, which enables the use of pin code protection to help secure these units.
All newly supplied by dealer StarFire 6000 units will come with the software update. The update renders the system useless without the pin protection.
John Deere America has also released a video of how to protect StarFire 6000 systems.
Farmers have any doubts are being advised to contact their local John Deere dealership, which will be able to help and advise the best way to update this software.
It will also be able to supply a lockable bracket and pin protected sticker to reduce the chances of units being stolen.
Nine tips to prevent theft of tractor GPS systems
- Remove all GPS guidance receivers, aerials or antenna globes when not in use and keep them locked away in a secure locked place when possible.
- Consider fitting security tethers or brackets to stop units being removed.
- Marking these with UV pen, or engraving your postcode or forensic marking such as Datatag are all options to consider.
- Police can supply UV marking kits free of charge to Farm Watch members to mark these pieces of equipment.
- 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.
- 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 where they won’t be triggered by animals or foliage moving in the wind.
- Record machinery serial numbers and photographs for reference to help police identify stolen items and increase the chances of them being recovered.
- 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 on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Source: Dorset Police Rural Crime Team