It covers a wide range of crimes but includes theft of machinery, vehicles, heating oil, metal, diesel and pesticides. Thieves are known to target high-value agricultural equipment and many top-of-the-range stolen vehicles are also stolen to order.
Rural crime is not limited to farm crime. It can involve crimes against property, crimes of violence, domestic violence, child abuse, trafficking and hate crimes. These all take place in rural communities.
Serious and organised crime groups are often linked to rural, heritage and wildlife crime particularly in relation to theft of agricultural machinery, hare-coursing and cannabis cultivation.
What can you do?
- Restrict access to your yard. Install gates, fix them to a sturdy concrete or metal post and keep them locked.
- Make your plant and equipment less attractive to thieves by making it more distinctive. Use livery stickers or paint your plant and equipment in corporate colours. Security devices such as Datatag marking or trackers should be considered as an option.
- Keep a register of plant and equipment, noting serial numbers, markings colour etc. Photographs are also a useful way of recording the scale of items.
- Store your tools and smaller machinery items in a building with enhanced security features close to the farmhouse.
- Fencing, hedges and walls should be robust, well maintained and checked regularly for breaches.
- Consider installing an alarm in vulnerable areas. An alarm will emit an audible warning and CCTV will provide surveillance on places out of view of the farmhouse.
- Illuminate areas which are overlooked from the dwelling or covered by CCTV.
- Don’t ignore suspicious or unusual activity.
- Always call 999 if a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.
- Don’t leave vehicles or buildings unlocked.
- Keep expensive machinery and vehicles out of sight.
- Do not leave valuables in parked cars.
- Join Farm, and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
- You can make a difference to your rural community.
Property marking and registration
- There are a number of property marking and registration schemes available. CESAR (Construction Equipment Security and Registration scheme http://www.cesarscheme.org/ ) is approved by the Construction Equipment Association and supported by the National Police Chiefs’ Council. The visible and covert marking CESAR offers should be a deterrent to those who are looking to steal plant/ agricultural equipment, and will help in the detection and investigation and prosecution of the offender.
- CESAR has been proven to deter theft, however remember when plant/agricultural equipment is left unattended, immobilise it or use additional security devices to limit the potential for unauthorised use.