Wiltshire’s Rural Crime Team has issued a warning to the agricultural sector in the area following a series of thefts in neighbouring counties.
A statement on the team’s Facebook page read: “We have been made aware of an increase in thefts of GPS systems from agricultural vehicles in neighbouring counties over the past two weeks.
“Four units have been stolen since Monday this week, so we are encouraging Wiltshire farmers and agricultural contractors to be on the alert and keep their GPS systems safe.”
The NFU has offered the following advice:
• Activate PIN security on GPS kit with your own unique number if available
• If your system is not pin enabled, mark with your postcode to deter thieves and trace your property back to you
• Keep tractors and combines with GPS fitted stored out of sight when possible
• Remove GPS kit when possible from tractors and other machinery and store it securely when not in use
• Record serial numbers and photograph your kit
• Check serial numbers of second-hand kit offered for sale
• Report sightings of suspicious activity in fields and farmyards to police.
Other options could include fitting a tracker to GPS equipment and/or marking it with a DNA marking system, such as that produced by SelectaDNA.
The warning comes after Gloucestershire Police set up extra patrols in rural areas following break-ins where, among other items, quad bikes, high-end gardening equipment and joinery tools were stolen after thieves forced their way into outbuildings.
The theft of quad bikes is particularly impactful at this time of year as farmers use them to keep an eye on their sheep during lambing season. The NFU said that they had seen a 26% annual increase in the cost of quad bike theft alone.
You can learn more about this on the Force website following our launch of Op Siege last year: https://crowd.in/HePtdp
If you see a crime in progress, call 999.
After the event please report online: https://crowd.in/beklig