Tips to avoid buying stolen farm vehicles

Follow these steps to check you’re not buying stolen farm machinery

Used tractors for sale in the UK are an affordable option for many farmers, but if a farm vehicle turns out to be stolen you could end up out of pocket and without vital equipment.

In the same way you’d check if a car is stolen before you buy, ensuring a thorough check of a farm vehicle’s history is as important as assessing its physical condition.

Clive Harris, NFU Mutual’s agricultural vehicle specialist, said: “The vast majority of sales involving agricultural machinery and vehicles will be legitimate but there are persistent criminals out there, which means you should remain vigilant.

“Buying a stolen vehicle or machinery will result in it being seized by the police. This will mean the loss of the tractor or vehicle, the cash paid for it and potential arrest for handling stolen goods.”

When you’re buying tractors and other farm vehicles, a few checks should give you peace of mind. Even if you think it's priced correctly, stolen vehicle checks should still be made.

Simple checklist

The Vehicle Safe Trading Advisory Group offers the following pointers: 

  • Check the price of the vehicle you’re looking to purchase is in-line with the market. If it is much cheaper then alarm bells should be ringing.
  • Check the seller has a valid address and telephone number. Visit them at their home or business premises. Never meet half-way, at a services or car park.
  • Give the vehicle a full inspection and test drive.
  • Always check the documentation related to the machinery or vehicle.
  • If in doubt walk away until you have carried out research and checks to be sure.

If you’re going to register your tractor on a registration database, this should be done provisionally before you hand over your cash. It’s too late once you have made a cash purchase through a private sale.

NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report

Our annual Rural Crime Report reveals rural crime cost the UK £49.9m in 2018. The cost of agricultural vehicle thefts was £7.4m, up from £5.9m the previous year.