Warning to farmers after spate of quad bike and 4×4 thefts

Farmers are being warned to remain vigilant with their security measures after several quad bike and farm vehicle thefts have been reported.

Over the course of two days, three quad bikes and one 4×4 were stolen from farms across Great Britain.

Between 3am and 4am on 13 January, a green Suzuki King Quad worth £8,000 was taken from Wolsingham in County Durham. Anyone with information should call 101 and quote DHM-13012019-0114.

See also: 9 tips to combat farm theft during darker nights

A green Honda all-terrain vehicle (ATV) was stolen overnight on 14-15 January from the Petworth area of West Sussex.

Meanwhile, a Big Red quad bike and a Green Nissan Pathfinder were taken from a farm in Gorebridge, Midlothian, during the same night. Anyone with information can call Penicuik Police on 101 and quote reference 0599 of 15 January.

‘Criminal currency’

Quads and ATVs are the top target for thieves in the UK, according to NFU Mutual, as they are easier to steal and sell on than larger farm vehicles.

Farm vehicles are stolen throughout the year, with thieves taking advantage of darker nights and fewer people being outside during winter months, and periods of intense farm activity, such as harvest in the summer.

Tim Price, rural affairs specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “It’s important to be vigilant whatever the season. We have seen a worrying spike in thefts, with quads and ATVs disappearing from farms in large numbers.

“Many quads aren’t licensed for road use, which means it is more difficult to trace them if they are stolen.

“We also understand that quads and other agricultural vehicles are being used as a form of criminal currency by international gangs following tighter money laundering legislation.”

The cost of quad and ATV theft claims to NFU Mutual rose from £2m in 2016 to £2.3m in 2017.

However, rural crime teams are also seeing success with recovering farm vehicles.

On Friday (18 January), Hampshire Constabulary’s Countrywatch team and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service discovered a quad bike stolen from a farm in Hart hidden in thick gorse.

On the same day, the force returned a second quad bike to its owner after carrying out a warrant with local teams Hart Rural Police and Fleet Police.

Farm vehicle theft prevention advice

Advice for all vehicles

  • Where possible, vehicles should be housed in a lockable garage or building, ideally with security lighting installed to the perimeter.
  • Vehicles should always be locked when not in use, with the keys kept hidden and locked away in a secure location.
  • Keep recordings or photographs of serial numbers and vehicles as these can be crucial in recovery, should the worst happen.

Advice for quad bikes and ATVs

  • Invest in a quality padlock and chain, such as those approved by Secured By Design – a police-approved product scheme. Securing to a fixed point on the ground or something that takes time to remove will also act as a deterrent.
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition, even if you only briefly leave your ATV unattended.
  • Keep gates to yards closed, as open gates can be an open invitation to thieves.

Source: NFU Mutual

See more