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An Oxfordshire farm machinery dealership has been the victim

Rise in Theft Presents Higher Risks Down on the Farm

Jun 2020


An Oxfordshire farm machinery dealership has been the victim of what is thought to be an organised crime gang, with the thieves getting away with eight nearly new, New Holland tractors with a combined value of almost £500,000.[1]

Theft of such high-value farm vehicles in not uncommon. Farms can have many other items that are attractive to thieves, including combine harvesters, horseboxes, ploughs, drills, hedge-trimming equipment, tools, all-terrain equipment and quad bikes.

Gangs are often selling to order and shipping such equipment overseas, often on low-loaders or in curtain-sided trailers, with changed or missing number plates.[2] Sometimes it is the technology inside the equipment that holds the value, so that is often stripped out and sold on.

At the same time, farms are being targeted by rustlers, who can steal whole flocks of sheep overnight, or strip the meat and leave the carcasses. It has even been known for sheepdogs to be stolen, with a good sheepdog worth £4000 to £5000.[3]

To protect themselves, farmers do have options. They could use the CESAR marking system – the only police and Home Office-approved plant and equipment registration scheme – which leaves covert marks on equipment which enable it to be traced.[4] This is a Thatcham-approved system and equipment protected by it is six times more likely to be recovered, if stolen.

When it comes to marking sheep, the forensic TecTracer system enables farmers to mark their fleeces with thousands of microdots, which also provide a means of tracing the stolen livestock.[5]

Having the right insurance in place, to cover the value of equipment and livestock, is also vital. Farmers can choose to have comprehensive cover, Third Party cover or Third-Party Fire and Theft, to cover their equipment and should also buy adequate protection for their livestock, their farm buildings and any employees working on the farm.

Agricultural consultants may well need professional indemnity or E&O cover, to protect against any errors and omissions they make whilst offering advice. Others within the agricultural world will need other forms or protection, according to their role.

With farms seemingly becoming ever-more attractive targets for thieves, following a significant increase in this crime when figures hit a seven-year high in 2018, farmers need to review their assets and ensure all are adequately insured. If you need help with this, please use our ‘Find a Local Broker’ tool, to find the right broker to advise you on your insurance requirements.

Sources:
[1] https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/crime/criminal-gang-steals-eight-tractors-worth-500000 
[2] https://www.farmonline.com.au/story/6775353/brazen-tractor-theft-in-the-uk/  
[3] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49209710  
[4] https://www.cesarscheme.org/benefits-farmers.php 
[5] https://www.farmersguide.co.uk/2020/03/farmers-warned-of-rising-theft-amid-covid-19-crisis/

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