‘Pin it or pen it’ – keep track of GPS systems
Following a rash of thefts by organised and tech-savvy criminal gangs, farmers are being warned to “pin it or pen it” when it comes to expensive tractor GPS systems.
Revealing details of continued criminal activity in the countryside, leading rural insurers NFU Mutual has teamed up with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NAVC IS) to urge farmers to make the most of pin enabled security on their GPS kit – or to get back to basics and indelibly daub postcodes onto their systems.
Warning of international criminal gangs stealing to order for re-sale across the glob e, the mutual’s rural affairs specialist, Rebecca Davidson said that her company had been receiving claims for such thefts from farm sand tractor dealer ships across the length and breadth of the UK.
“GP S technology plays such a vital role in modern day farming and thefts of systems have been debilitating for farmers who have been hit during the busy harvest period. While replacement systems can be sourced, farmers are working to tight we a ther windows and it takes time to get up and running again,” said Davidson.
And she warned that these tended not to be opportunistic thefts: “The thieves clearly know what they are looking for and we are getting reports of determined criminal gangs using drones to scope out farms, or carefully planning routes around CCTV surveillance to avoid being caught.
“The feeling of being watched and targeted is adding to feelings of anxiety for those living and working in isolated areas.”
Davidson said that as the Mutual was the main insurer of the UK’S farmers, as well as working with the authorities, the company was also co-operating with tractor manufacturers and encouraging them to introduce security measures which would help to tackle the worrying new crime trend.
DC Chris Piggott of NAVCIS added: “Our message to help protect your property is simple – pin it or pen it. So, if you have pin enabled technology to protect your GPS system, make sure it’s up and running and if not, daub your postcode onto kit using indelible ink.
“It might not look pretty but it’s a big deterrent to thieves who are stealing systems to sell on across the world. Anything that is identifiable and will trace the kit back to its owner will immediately put the thieves off.
“Also make sure you report any suspicious sightings to police, which can help build up a picture and share intelligence with other forces.”
He also said that tractors and combines with GPS fitted were best stored out of sight whenever possible – and that any GPS kit should be removed from tractors and other machinery and stored securely when not in use
He also said that farm - ers buying second hand kit should take care not to inadvertently buy stolen systems from what appear to be bona fide online sellers.
“Buyers are being advised to rigorously check where the systems have come from if buying from outside a dealership, and to be suspicious of anything that has had serial numbers removed,” he said.