In the past week a pair of schemes in two different counties have been introduced in order to tackle the growing problem of farm machinery theft as crooks ramp up their activities in many parts of the UK.
Police in Warwickshire have begun setting up 'trap' vehicles which are intended to be targeted by thieves, and then tracked so that it is possible to apprehend those responsible. This comes as part of wider efforts to cut down on tractor and quad bike thefts, which are proving to be a costly concern for farmers across the region.
It is hoped that with machines designed to catch criminals in the act being rolled out, it will not only be possible to secure convictions of those responsible but also to dissuade others from even attempting to steal the valuable equipment in the first place for fear that they are being duped.
Three arrests have already been made following the introduction of the scheme, with spokesperson PC Craig Purcell stating that the theft of vehicles and machinery from isolated areas was all too common and that this scheme gave the police a far better chance of detecting crime and dissuading people from committing criminal acts altogether.
He also said that by making these tracking tactics public, the police were not giving away too much but rather demonstrating just how far their rural crime-fighting capabilities have come in recent years thanks to cutting-edge technologies.
Farmers in Warwickshire have a number of resources available to them in order to boost on-site security and minimise the likelihood of machinery theft, so they are being advised to take advantage of these assets before they fall victim to crime.
Meanwhile, in Cambridgeshire one of the most prevalent problems is not that of large pieces of farm machinery being stolen but rather the small yet valuable components that they contain being targeted by criminals. Most commonly stolen are the batteries which lurk in the engine bay, so police have kick-started the 'Paint it Pink' project with a view to putting an end to this wave of thefts.
More than 100 batteries have been pulled from farm machinery in the county over the past three months, prompting action from the police. The idea is that by spray-painting the postcode of the farm to which a battery belongs directly on to the side of the component, recovering stolen items from scrap yards will be made simple and the crooks themselves will be less likely to even go through with their plans in the first place.
Police spokesperson PC Sam Thompson said that this type of rural crime was costing farmers a lot of money, both individually and collectively across Cambridgeshire, while also proving to be disruptive to the actual work of the organisations they run. This kind of paint-based tactic may be a little less technically advanced than the trackers being deployed on trap vehicles in Warwickshire, but it could be just as effective as a deterrent.