Posted: Thu 27th Jun 2024

Farmers urged to secure GPS systems amid rising thefts in North Wales and Cheshire

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Farmers in North Wales and Cheshire are being urged to secure their specialist agricultural GPS systems following a rise in thefts targeting this equipment.

The North Wales Police (NWP) Rural Crime Team, in collaboration with the Cheshire Rural Crime Team and the National Rural Crime Team, is actively working to apprehend the offenders.

To aid in preventing these crimes, farmers are advised to take several precautionary measures.

These include activating PIN security on GPS kits, marking units with a postcode, and using forensic smart water provided by the police.

Additionally, it is recommended to store GPS-equipped machinery securely and out of sight when not in use, remove GPS devices from tractors and combines, and record serial numbers along with photographs of the equipment.

The NWP Rural Crime Team also suggests implementing simple alarm systems in tractor cabs, installing yard CCTV and sensor alarms, and parking vulnerable machinery where it is more likely to be noticed by people or animals during the night.

Farmers are encouraged to report any suspicious behaviour around agricultural premises by calling 101 or using the live chat service on the North Wales Police website for non-emergencies, and dialing 999 in emergencies such as a crime in progress.

“Your vigilance can play a crucial role in helping us bring these offenders to justice,” said a spokesperson from the North Wales Police.

“By following the provided security advice and remaining alert, you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this type of crime.”

Bob Henderson, who leads NFU Mutual’s Agricultural Engineering Field Team, said: “The scale of GPS theft we’re currently seeing makes it vital that farmers take all possible steps to protect their GPS equipment by removing it from tractors, combines and other machines and locking it up securely when not in use.

“The busy harvesting season is rapidly approaching. We are very concerned that the gangs committing these thefts will be upping their game.

“Supply chain problems cause long waits for replacement GPS equipment, which leads to serious disruption to farmers and prevents them gathering their crops in prime condition.

“Disrupting worldwide criminal distribution lines for gangs to sell-on stolen GPS equipment is the key to controlling this crime wave, so we’re working closely with police, machinery manufacturers and farmers to make it more difficult for these gangs to operate.”

For more detailed advice, farmers can refer to the NFU Mutual GPS Security Guide and the North Wales Police’s ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ initiative, which provides additional resources to help protect agricultural equipment.

[Photo: NFU]


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