Plant Machinery Theft On The Rise During Harvest Season

The theft of plant machinery and farm equipment, and in particular farm equipment in the UK is on the increase. This is a growing concern that has major implications for farmers and those who make their living from working on the land. Farms, and the expensive equipment that is needed to help them run smoothly have become major targets for organised criminals and smaller groups of thieves in recent years.

Rates of plant machinery theft

The 2023 Rural Crime Report, put together by NFU Mutual, the leading rural insurer in the UK, estimated that rural crime shot up from £40.5m in 2021 to £49.5m in 2022. That is a rise of almost 22%, and the majority of these crimes were related to farm machinery thefts.

Machinery thefts can be devastating for farms. Not only is there the inconvenience that they find themselves facing as a result of the loss of the machinery, but there is also the loss of time that this can also lead to and the unsettling feelings that come from being a target of a crime. When these thefts occur at harvest time it may also result in spoiled crops and a loss of income. Unfortunately, replacing this machinery can often lead to a farm putting themselves at the top of the list to be targeted again as they may have purchased sought-after machinery as replacements. With this in mind, farmers are increasingly being encouraged to invest in GPS tracking in order to protect their machinery, particularly during busy times like harvesting.

Why is this machinery targeted by thieves?

There is no denying that farm machinery is expensive and this in itself makes it a very good target for thieves. However, when it comes to the theft of farm machinery this is just the tip of the iceberg, as organised gangs are at the heart of many of the thefts.

There are currently some significant issues in the farming machinery sector that are helping to cause the issues farmers find themselves facing. The significant constraints to supply, together with long lead times for new machinery direct from the manufactures are one of the big factors that are leading to an increase in the theft of farming machinery. Rising fuel costs and also the increased costs of raw materials are also not helping the situation.

All of these factors mean that demand is outstretching the supply of farming machinery and for organised gangs this can mean that there is a real black market for any machinery that they can steal. The turnaround for being able to turn anything they take into cash is quite fast.

The remote location of many farms, where farm buildings can often be spread over a significant area and the farmer and his employees working well away from where machinery is stored can also make them something of an easy target. Farms, by their nature, often have few neighbours so there is less likelihood of anyone witnessing a theft. With public rights of way often passing close to, or in some cases through farms it is often easy for thieves to check out security and activity on a farm in order to target them without raising any suspicion.

If you now think it may be time to install GPS trackers on your machinery, we’re here to help. To protect your valuable equipment from targeted plant machinery theft, consider installing a secure and covert GPS tracker. At FitMyTracker we offer a range of plant and machinery trackers, and if you need any assistance in choosing the tracker that’s right for you, simply give us a call.