Police urge farmers to ‘remove GPS devices overnight’ from tractors following thefts

Police urge farmers remove GPS devices from tractors overnight following a string of thefts from Fen

Police urge farmers remove GPS devices from tractors overnight following a string of thefts from Fenland farms. Picture: Flickr/Alan Levine/Labelled for reuse - Credit: Flickr/Alan Levine/Labelled for reuse

Police are urging Fenland farmers to remove GPS devices from their tractors overnight following a string of thefts across the region.

The warning comes after five thefts over two nights on August 19 and 20, with thousands of pounds worth of equipment being taken.

GPS screens, domes and satellites were all taken during the night from tractors parked in barns, with a majority occurring in Guyhirn, Whittlesey and Coates.

Rural Crime Sergeant Craig Flavell said: “This trend is deeply worrying for farmers who are investing in high-tech equipment to make their farms more efficient and reduce pollution.

“In an attempt to stop thieves targeting GPS kit, some manufacturers now provide PIN numbers to prevent the equipment being used by others.

“Most GPS kit in use on farms today are fitted to tractors as an easily-removable accessory. To prevent thefts, farmers should remove the kit when it’s not in use and store it under lock and key.”

Avice from NFU Mutual:

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• Remove GPS guidance receivers, aerials and antenna globes from tractors when not in use and keep them in a secure locked place whenever possible;

• Consider fitting security tethers or brackets to stop units being removed

• Mark your postcode on GPS units – either with a UV pen, engraving tool of forensic marking system such as Datatag;

• Store machinery in locked buildings whenever possible;

• Where locking machines away isn’t an option, consider fitting mains or battery-operated alarms to cover 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 where they won’t be triggered by animals or foliage moving in the wind;

• Record machinery serial numbers and photograph kit 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;

• Join local Farm Watch or social media security groups to keep in touch with rural crime trends in your area;

• Encourage farm staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or vehicles to the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.