|This Message is distributed on behalf of Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime.
There is an increasing trend relating to theft of quad bikes/ATVs/trailers and agricultural machinery south of the border however currently in Scotland there has been no such trend and in fact our rural communities are observing a decrease in this type of crime. Aware this could easily change,NFU Mutual in conjunction with the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) are keen to remind those living and working in our rural communities to be vigilant. NFU Mutual work closely with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NVCIS), Police Scotland plus are an active partner on SPARC with a focus to tackle agricultural vehicle theft.
Overall Scotland has seen a reduction in rural crime, however NFU Mutual are warning rural communities to review and where applicable tighten security as organised criminal gangs turn their attention to an even more isolated countryside as their other revenue streams dry up. Smaller, more portable equipment appears to be topping the thieves wish list, for example recently quads bikes have been targeted in Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire and the Lothians.” Across the UK, NFU Mutual is receiving reports of quads and ATVs being stolen as well as tractors, telehandlers, horse boxes and trailers coupled with a spate of newer Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) thefts, raising concerns that they are being stolen to enable other crime on rural terrain. Farmers and rural communities are being urged to take all possible steps to secure their property. For example, many tractors and other farm vehicles now have so-called smart keys with electronic information needed to start the machine, so it’s vital that keys are removed from machines and stored securely in a remote location to prevent thieves using keys to start machinery and drive it away from farms.”
NFU Mutual tips to help secure machinery and vehicles:-
1. Remove keys. Just as you wouldn’t leave the keys in your front door at home, store keys securely, away from the vehicle
2. Keep your machine locked up and out of sight. Thieves often stake out a farm before they raid, so where possible store machinery in a locked building or where it can’t be seen from the road
3. Use the CESAR marking and registration system. Markings make your property less attractive to criminals and can help recover your belongings if they are stolen
4. Instal immobilisers and trackers on tractors and loaders. Thieves can’t take what they can’t start and won’t want to be found if they do make off with your property
5. Know what you own. Take pictures of your vehicle and record serial numbers.
6. Join local Rural Watch or social media security groups to keep in touch with rural crime trends in your area www.ruralwatchscotland.co.uk
7. Encourage farm staff to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour or vehicles to the police on 101, or 999 in an emergency
For more information about rural security and rural crime trends, visit nfumutual.co.uk/ruralcrime
During this unprecedented time, it is important for all land owners, land managers and workers living and still working within Scotland’s rural communities to be mindful criminals have no respect for the current restrictions in place.
Please remain vigilant and if you observe an individual(s) or vehicle(s) acting suspiciously, please note any relevant details, a description and any relevant vehicle registration number then pass the information onto Police Scotland via 101 or if a crime on-going 999. Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org