Tractor Thefts Down by almost 50%

Tractor Thefts Down by almost 50%
2nd Nov 2012

Tractor thefts have fallen by almost 50% in the past 12 months, according to the latest police figures. Reports the FWI.


The figures released by the Metropolitan police force’s Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence unit show a decline of 47% in the 12 months up to June 2012. And, in the three months between July and September, just 49 tractors were stolen in the UK.


Detective constable Ian Elliott, who works with PANI unit, said the reduction was a consequence of manufacturers such as John Deere starting to fit the CESAR identification system as standard in their machines, as well as the introduction of unique keys in their tractors.


“I want every farmer who is ordering a new tractor to demand CESAR and unique immobilised keys,” DC Elliott said.


The scheme gives farm machinery a unique fingerprint, using technology including tamper-proof registration plates and radio-frequency identification devices to deter thieves.

Registration information is collected on a database that can be accessed by police 24/7 across 187 countries to allow officers to check suspicious equipment.


Police forces across the country are offering financial assistance to help farmers secure their machinery with CESAR. More than £12m-worth of machinery has so far been tagged with CESAR technology as part of a subsidised scheme funded by local police forces and councils.


It is now being rolled out internationally to prevent machinery being stolen to order.


Kevin Howells, managing director of Datatag, the company that supplies the CESAR technology, said police and farming groups in France, Germany and the USA had decided to start fitting the identification technology in tractors.


Mr Howells said the move would help further reduce the number of tractors being stolen to order.


“In the UK we have recovered equipment from as far away as New Zealand and America,” he said.


Rural insurer NFU Mutual said claims for tractor thefts from UK farms peaked at £10m in 2010 with more than 2,000 claims. In 2011, it cost £8.7m in 2011 and the first nine months of 2012 has seen a welcome drop in the number of tractor thefts and claims.


But it seems the success of CESAR is contributing to thieves switching their attention to other farm machinery.


“We’re currently seeing higher levels of quad bike thefts and in the past few weeks there’s been a worrying spate of telescopic loader thefts,” said NFU Mutual’s Tim Price.


Dave Luscombe of Datatag said the increase in quad bike thefts – which rose by more than 25% in the three months to June – was an unintended consequence of the success of the CESAR scheme.


“Farmers taking more care over tractors have displaced theft,” he said. “Thieves are stopping taking bigger machines and are going for quads.


“They are easy to drive away and can be easily broken down. None of the manufacturers fit CESAR as standard, so they are often not very well protected.”


A complete CESAR system for quad bikes, which costs £120, has been developed to help combat this crime.

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