As farmers battle the cost-of-living crisis amidst a rising tide of rural crime, protection of farm property and equipment has never been more urgent warns farm insurance comparison site, Quotezone.
The total bill for rural thefts in 2022 was estimated at £40.5m, as thieves targeted expensive equipment, vehicles and livestock. Fuel has also become a target, with the cost of red diesel almost double what it was the previous year.
Farmers also have to contend with a surge in prices right across essential elements of farming such as electricity, fertiliser, water, animal feed and veterinary bills – making additional costs due to theft, disastrous.
“It’s important farmers take all precautions to protect this crucial industry and safeguard their livelihoods,” according to research by Quotezone. The company says that a lot of agricultural equipment is vulnerable to theft, and less than half of those surveyed (41%), actually keep their vulnerable items in a locked garage or barn.
The research, based on a sample of over 6,000 farm vehicle insurance policies, shows that nearly 20% of farmers don’t lock their garages or barns, and 15% of vehicles are left out on unsecure driveways.
Security experts recommend the following tips:
- Add and maintain alarms, CCTV and security lights, and keep gates locked/vehicle keys with you
- Restrict access to yards, installing sturdy gates fixed in concrete or a metal post
- Paint equipment in distinctive / corporate colours
- Consider investing in security devices such as Datatag marking or vehicle trackers
- Note serial numbers, register and take photographs of expensive items
- Be on the lookout for breaches – checking fences, hedges and walls
- Join farm and Neighbourhood Watch schemes