Police across the country are reporting that there has been a reduction in the thefts of motor vehicles, but there has been a marked increase in the thefts of agricultural and construction machinery.
Whilst nationally police are seeing around a 40% reduction in the Theft of motor vehicles since the Covid19 lockdown, NaVCIS (National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service) have identified an upward trend in the theft of agricultural machinery, off roads Quads, ATV’s, trailers and plant machinery, with one construction company reporting 50% more thefts recently and a number of forces reporting an upturn of rural thefts on a community that is increasingly isolated by the current situation.
With the construction industry winding down, some sites placed on full closure and the farming industry working with reduced numbers of staff and machinery not in use, we are finding Organised Crime Gangs exploiting the opportunities to steal such equipment.
A number of UK machines have been identified recently in lorries bound for Eastern Europe, with interceptions of stolen machinery bound for both Bulgaria and Poland.
The use of low loaders and vans to conceal smaller plant equipment is also prevalent and a common means for the theft of smaller machinery such as mini diggers, dumpers, generators and road rollers.
Locally, in New Byth a yellow JCB 8018 mini digger & buckets with the registration RV63 NBE which was on a Brian James plant trailer with the serial number 758s100 welded on to it was stolen from the community car park between 6 pm and 10 pm on Sunday 19 April.
Steps you can take to prevent machinery theft happening on your land:
- 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.
Steps you can take to prevent theft of Quads and All-Terrain Vehicles:
- Invest in a bespoke quad security device, such as Quadvice or 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.
Steps you can take to prevent theft of Tractors:
- Mark machinery with DNA marking devices and forensic marking products
- Sign up to CESAR, an agricultural equipment registration scheme, which increases the chance of recovering stolen goods by helping police identify stolen machinery
- Have the Vehicle Identification Number etched on windows. This makes the vehicle more detectable and less appealing to thieves because they have to grind out the numbers.
- Instal immobilisers, chip keys and trackers as these are a simple way to deter criminals or track vehicles and can be fitted easily by an experienced agricultural engineer.
If you notice anything unusual on your land and premises or when you are out and about in the countryside call Police Scotland Tel 101. If a crime is being committed call 999.
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