Quad Bike with a Farm Dog watching sheep to prevent theft

Tips to keep your farm vehicles safe this winter

Taking the keys out of your farm vehicle is the single most important step you can take to prevent it being stolen this winter.

This winter, tougher economic conditions may be fuelling a rise in opportunistic farm vehicle and equipment thefts.

“Too many farmers assume their vehicles are safe on their land, but sadly this is not the case,” says Naomi Clements, Claims Team Leader. “We usually see an increase in claims for stolen vehicles during the winter months. It’s a time when vehicles are more likely to be left unused on the farm.”

Naomi adds: “Thieves are attracted to vehicles within easy reach of a road, particularly when some distance from the main house. Quad bikes, trailers and even tractors can be transported hundreds of miles very quickly.”

Vehicle security & tagging important in reducing risk

There are several steps you can take to help reduce the risk of farm vehicle thefts:

  • Avoid leaving keys in or near vehicles. If your vehicle is stolen with keys left in or near the vehicle, this may reduce the chance of a claim being successful.
  • Keep farm vehicles not being used over winter in a locked building, ideally covering the windows so they are hidden from view.
  • Use immobilising measures such as grip locks to secure vehicles and make them more difficult to be moved.
  • Consider fitting VHF, GPS tracking devices and fuel and battery isolators.
  • Register your vehicle with a security or property-marking scheme such as Datatag or CESAR.
  • Record your machinery serial numbers, and take a photograph for reference. Having an image of a stolen vehicle or trailer greatly increases the prospect of it being recovered.
  • Security lighting and CCTV with sensors and PIR Alarms on the perimeter of the building or premises may help enhance farm security.
  • When buying new vehicles, request a chipped key and immobilisation system.

Rural Crime teams across the South West continue to encourage farmers and other members of the community to look out for one another and report any suspicious activity.

PC Chris Collins of Devon and Cornwall Police Rural Affairs team says: “We would advise all to ensure that the appropriate security is present on buildings, vehicles, machinery and livestock, and would ask farmers, landowners and the public to remain vigilant for suspicious activity and report incidents to the police.

“Call 999 in an emergency, 101 in a non-emergency or email 101@dc.police.uk. Information can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

“We recommend farmers, rural businesses and members of the community set up or join a local alert scheme and social media watch groups. This collaboration creates eyes and ears in rural locations and allows communities to support one another.”

Join your county’s Farm Watch scheme by signing up online:

Devon and Cornwall Police have also created an information video about preventing farm equipment thefts.

To discuss your agricultural vehicle or fleet cover, contact your local Field Insurance Advisor or our Member Services team on 01872 277151 or askus@cornishmutual.co.uk