Rural crime cost the British economy roughly £37.8m in 2014. This is actually a slight drop from the 2013 figure, thanks mainly to farmers taking precautions against theft, but it still represents a serious problem for those affected.
Figures have also been published showing those items on the farm most at risk from thieves. As expected, farm tools top the list, followed by all-terrain vehicles and quad bikes. Fuel – oil and diesel – is at number three, with general machinery, livestock, garden equipment, trailers, equestrian equipment or transport, bicycles and tractors and personal effects rounding out the top ten.
Even though thieves are becoming increasingly ingenious and bold, there are still effective steps that you can take to safeguard your farm’s assets. Immobilise your vehicles when they’re not in use and lock away or chain up other machinery. Store tools in a secure box or cage, and larger items in a secure building that can be seen from the farmhouse. This should also be lit by security lighting and alarmed.
Fit valuable equipment and vehicles with tracking devices and mark all equipment with indelible identifying marks, such as your postcode or driving license number. Keep an up-to-date inventory of all your equipment, complete with serial and chassis numbers and model types. This should be checked regularly, especially if you have a large farm and there’s a possibility that you might not notice immediately when an item is missing.
Livestock should be branded and tagged and you should always keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Check your fields regularly and consider installing CCTV to monitor outlying areas. It can also help to keep clear photographs of any particularly valuable animals, equipment or vehicles. Regularly lock all doors and gates and maintain fences, hedges and other boundaries. Ditches around your property can also be an excellent deterrent.
Duty of care
All locks should be of kitemarked BSI standard. Describing your locks incorrectly on your insurance application could invalidate your claim. You also need to be aware of the ‘Duty of Care’ stipulated in most insurance policies. This means that you must be seen to be taking adequate precautions to safeguard all insured items for the policy to be valid. You also need to notify the police of any theft within 24-hours and, of course, keep your farm insurance policy up to date regarding the value of your property.
For further advice on the precautions you can take to reduce the risks to your farm, contact us today on 01603 218000.