Farming News - Insurers call for farmers to embrace high-tech solutions to protect high value farm equipment & machinery

Insurers call for farmers to embrace high-tech solutions to protect high value farm equipment & machinery

Rural crime cost the UK a staggering £54.3m in 2019, an increase of nearly 9% on the previous year[i].  As daylight hours diminish with the turning back of clocks, stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert, Tracker, is urging the rural community to fight back and invest in high-tech solutions that can outsmart criminals taking advantage of the extended cover of darkness. 

Quad bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) used on farms are particularly popular targets for thieves. Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker, comments: “Due to their somewhat basic onboard tech, compact size and lack of registration plates, these vehicles are an easy target: easy to jump start, transport, hide and clone. This makes them difficult to locate without high-tech assistance. Their theft cost the UK £3.1m in 2019. Every year we see many cases of farm owners losing out on days, or even weeks, of work because equipment or quad bikes were stolen. Such rural crime is affecting how farmers work and live, but continued COVID challenges mean these businesses are in even greater need of protection from further financial loss.”

The NFU Mutual Report notes thieves constantly change their targets and seek ways to defeat security measures. “As every farm and rural property is unique, each requires an individual response combining physical security measures and hi-tech devices together with strong community links to stay aware of crime trends,” the report highlights. However, it is important to note that once criminals have successfully stolen from a farm, they are likely to target the same farm again in future – they know the layout, the weaknesses, and that a new replacement vehicle will be on site in the near future.

In August this year, Tracker helped police to recover a valuable Honda TRX500 quad bike that was stolen from a farm in an extremely rural area of Midlothian. This was the second time the quad had been stolen.  The first time was in July 2018 when it was returned by Tracker to its owner less than 24 hours after the theft, having been found in a small town 40 miles away. Second time around, Tracker located the valuable vehicle 10 miles from the farm, and it was quickly returned to the owner.

Clive Wain continued: “It's not just tractors, quad bikes and farming equipment at risk; not surprisingly, given its desirability amongst the farming community, the iconic Land Rover Defender remains a hot target as thieves steal whole vehicles or parts for the black market. Theft of these vehicles alone cost the UK £2.1m in 2019.  Land Rover and Range Rover dominated Tracker’s ‘Most Stolen and Recovered League Table’ in 2019, accounting for five out of the top ten spots. The good news, though, is that 95% of stolen vehicles fitted with a Tracker device are recovered successfully.”

Just recently, Tracker helped police to recover a John Deere Gator stolen from a Leicestershire farm, and a Land Rover Defender stolen from Cambridgeshire. The vehicles were recovered within 24 hours of the thefts being reported.

Crucially, Tracker is the only SVR provider offering vehicle tracking systems supported nationwide by UK police forces.  Its SVR solutions work like an electronic homing device. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the vehicle. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there. VHF technology unique to Tracker makes its units resistant to GPS/GSM jamming, confirming Tracker as a superior security defence against determined thieves.

NFU Mutual policyholders can benefit from up to 12.5% discounts on policies covering a tractor or quad bike with a Tracker device fitted.

Simple steps to better protect quad bikes and ATVs

  • Always remove keys from the vehicle and store them securely
  • Do not leave the vehicle unattended in fields or visible from roads
  • Store vehicles in the most secure building on the farm, preferably covered by CCTV or visible from the house or road, and in a well-lit area to deter thieves
  • Invest in a quad vice or ground stake and chain to add a physical barrier to slow down thieves and prevent opportunistic thefts
  • Be diligent about always using deterrents and locks such as ram locks, steering lock, pedal locks and immobilisers
  • Install a tracking device so the vehicle can be located quickly in the event of a theft, to avoid down time and protect insurance premiums. Tracker devices use a unique combination of GPS/GSM and VHF technology to ensure vehicles can be located even if stored underground, in a shipping container, or taken to Europe.

 For Tracker product and pricing information please visit