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Warning following GPS thefts from tractors

27 Aug 2020

Farmers are being urged to be remove GPS devices overnight following recent thefts from tractors across the county.

The warning comes after five thefts over two nights on 19 and 20 August 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 Fenland.

Sergeant Craig Flavell, from the force’s Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT), 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 kits, some manufacturers now provide personal identification numbers (PINs) to prevent the equipment being used by others.

“Most GPS kits 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.”

Further advice from National Farmers Union (NFU) Mutual is below:

  • 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 or forensic marking system such as Datatag
  • Store machinery in locked buildings where 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 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 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

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