Farming machinery is likely one of your biggest and most expensive assets.

Rural crime is a very real problem and there are precautions you can take so that vehicle theft isn’t easy for thieves.

With tractor theft claims costs up by over 13% in the first nine months of 2015 in East Anglia, the Midlands and the South East, it’s important to consider how farm machinery can be made as safe as possible.

Here are some thoughts and top tips on tackling farm machinery theft:

  • Rural crime is a very real problem and, unfortunately, it’s something that means farmers are facing a continual battle to stay one step ahead of thieves.
  • Thieves don’t go away. If you improve security in one area they will step back, and seek a way to bypass your security measures – or find something else they can steal from farms and sell-on.
  • Because of advances in technology, older tractors are also being targeted. This can mean the theft of a range of machinery,  from vintage and older vehicles, to tractors which are only a few years old. Quads and ATVs are also at high risk.

Many farmers are conscious that security can be costly, but there are cheaper, effective options coming to the market all the time.  It’s a case of selecting what is suitable for your machinery and maximising the value for money.

In order to keep vehicles safe, there are precautions that can be taken:

1. Have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched on vehicle windows

If you get a VIN number etched on glass windows, it makes the vehicle more detectable and less appealing to thieves because they have to grind out the numbers. This is an effective counter theft measure.

Autoglass carry out etching free of charge for NFU Mutual tractor insurance policyholders.

For more details and to arrange an appointment email NFUM.Etching@autoglass.co.uk

2. Fit good quality immobiliser devices (preferably Thatcham accredited)

This is a relatively cheap option with a one off cost and no subscriptions to pay. Immobiliser devices can help cut insurance premiums because they prevent machinery from being stolen in the first place. Thatcham approved immobilisers have been quality tested and are a good investment, giving you piece of mind.

If you fit a P3 mechanical immobiliser device on your tractor, if it is targeted, it will only go round in circles. We have had incidents where policyholders have fitted it and their tractor has gone round in circles when thieves have tried to steal it.

The list of Thatcham approved immobilisers and tracking devices is available from the Thatcham website

3. Consider Telematics/tracking technology to give the location of vehicles 24/7

Tracking devices are quite innovative and some are not as expensive as others. These are something that should be considered for all and especially expensive tractors.

Fitting these devices is another way that could possibly lower your insurance premium.

4. Protect vehicles by registering them with CESAR

CESAR (Construction and Agricultural Machinery Security and Registration Scheme), is a one-off cost and uses state-of-the-art Datatag ID technology to increase security of tractors, telehandlers and other machinery vulnerable to theft. If your vehicle is stolen and is tagged, the rightful owner can be easily identified.

These are just some of the ways you can keep your machinery safe and I can’t stress enough the importance of ensuring that farmers are taking these kinds of measures to protect their assets.

Thieves don’t go away, they target assets with least risk and resistance to be driven or taken away quickly and easily.