Farmers urged to remove GPS devices from tractors following thefts

Police are urging farmers to remove GPS devices from tractors when they are not in use. The warning comes following several thefts of the devices across the region, with police saying that they have seen an “emerging trend”. Sergeant Ryan Hemmings, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Rural Operational Support Team, said: “Although incidents of theft from tractors in Hertfordshire have been a relatively low occurrence, there have been a small number of GPS units stolen this year and there is an emerging trend in other parts of the country.

“With this in mind, we’re urging local farmers to review their security measures, to help protect their livelihood. “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.

“In an attempt to stop thieves targeting GPS kits, some manufacturers now also provide personal identification numbers (PINs) to prevent the equipment being used by others.”

Police have also issued the following advice:

  • 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
  • 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 – visit www.owl.co.uk

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