How to keep valuable farm kit safe and secure as travel restrictions ease

Our latest blog for British lock manufacturer Squire. With special thanks to their agricultural distributor Sparex for contributing to this article.

Latest reports say rural crime has risen sharply as thieves target farmers during lockdown.  And now there are warnings of a possible resurgence of thefts as travel restrictions ease.

As well as livestock rustling, criminal gangs are targeting valuable tractors, ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles), GPS equipment and quad bikes. Even prized farm dogs worth thousands of pounds.

According to rural insurer NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Report 2020, the cost of agricultural vehicle theft was £9.3million in 2019, up by 26% year on year.

Squire's agricultural distributor Sparex told us how a key factor is modern farming technology.

“As farming evolves and adopts modern technology in day-to-day practices, farmers are seeing an increased amount of theft as they keep more and more valuable items on their premises.

“These items can be anything from tractor GPS systems, tools, or ATVs.  And with dog prices soaring during the COVID lockdown, dog thefts have also greatly increased.”

Undoubtedly, it’s a challenging time for farmers who’ve been working flat out to keep us all fed.  Sparex told us that with social media and an increased demand from today’s consumer to understand food provenance, farming has never been so much in the public eye.

This means it’s more important than ever to make sure farm buildings, equipment, kennels and vehicles are properly secure and that your security is in good working order.

Here are a few tips from Squire to help farmers choose the right type of lock security to deter thieves.

  • ATVs and tractors – expensive tractors and farm vehicles, particularly Land Rovers, are a tempting target for thieves. Make sure they are safely locked away and out of sight in a secure building, particularly at night. Use extra security as a visible deterrent such as heavy duty, closed shackle hardened steel padlocks and hasps. Remove GPS systems from vehicles when not in use.
  • Quad bikes – use heavy duty padlock and chain sets on quad bikes together with ground or wall anchors. Look for police approved Sold Secure Diamond and Gold rated security.
  • Fences and boundaries – secure gates with high security, heavy duty, weatherproof key or combination padlocks.
  • Outbuildings, storage areas and kennels – secure agricultural buildings, sheds, containers, storage areas and kennels with heavy duty, weatherproof locks, container locks and/or padlock, hasp and staple sets. Secure large, heavy equipment left outside with ground or wall anchors, locks and chains.
  • Keyed alike locks - for convenience, choose keyed-alike locks when travelling from building to building or farm to farm. Keyed alike locks avoid the need for numerous keys, so one key opens all locks.
  • Look for independently attack tested and certified security - look for security products that carry the official police approved Secured by Design (SBD), Sold Secure, CEN or LPCB marks. This means they have passed rigorous tests by a recognised independent testing and certification body.
  • Security assessment– carry out a full security audit to assess your security arrangements.
  • Regular maintenance– check your farm buildings for any signs of break-in or damage and make sure your premises stay well-maintained whilst closed.
  • Make sure all locks are in good working order. An approved locksmith can recommend improvements or upgrades.
  • Lock it up when you leave– make sure all gates, farm buildings and sheds are locked securely when you leave.

Squire security products are distributed by Sparex to retailers nationwide, who can advise farmers on purchasing the best products to protect themselves and their livelihood.

Contact your nearest stockist for chains, ground and wall anchors and padbars, together with a complete range of padlocks for gates, containers, kennels, doors and machinery, including keyed alike options.