Despite the Covid-19 crisis and the several lock-downs we have had over the last year, criminals are still targeting the Countryside and are become more brazen about it. Farmers are having to go to extra lengths to ramp up security and protect their livelihoods.
PSP Group are always looking to help our rural community in any way we can so we have put together some top tips for keeping your farmyards safe and your business running smoothly.
Police often find farm machinery that they think has been stolen but has usually been stripped of its identifying marks. Years ago nearly all agricultural machinery stolen would be found in the same county, but these days it is often destined for abroad. Around £1m worth of farm machinery is stolen from farms every week and is heading straight out of the country making it impossible to recover.
Tractors are being shipped out of the UK not only to Europe but as far afield as Australia and Africa.
Datatag and Cesar use unique layered security markings, which include microdot scattered around the vehicle, this makes it much easier to identify within a very short space of time and reunite it with the owner.
If you are unfortunate enough to have any of your farm machinery stolen you need to report it to the police as quickly as possible and provide as much information as you can including makes and models, colour, registration plate serial number, chassis and engine number and Cesar number.
Farmers that use security marking within Datatag and Cesar schemes, are enabling the true identity of stolen kit to be established and this will go a long way to having it recovered and returned to them.
Failure to report either missing or stolen batches of ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser from your farm could mean prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws. This could lead to up to 3 months in jail or a hefty fine.
To avoid having to deal with a missing or stolen fertiliser you should always store it inside a locked building whenever possible. Make sure it is stored away from and out of view of the public highway and don’t leave it in fields or anywhere there is public access overnight.
Make sure you have a record of any manufacturer code numbers from the bags and a keep note of the resistance test certificate numbers if they are available. Always report any stock discrepancies to the police immediately.
Farmers and Landowners need to be responsible for making sure fertiliser doesn’t get into the wrong hands and they must report anyone who is suspiciously asking to buy fertiliser from them.
Farmers have a responsibility for safe gun ownership. There are 1.9m lawfully held firearms in the UK. Farmers whose guns are stolen or lost could face prosecution and have their firearms certificates revoked, if reasonable measure to secure them haven’t been followed. The most common places for firearms to be stolen are from vehicles, while burglary is second.
The Firearms Rules 1998 require all firearm and shotgun certificates to be produced with the statutory condition that firearms and ammunition “must at all times be stored securely so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, access by an unauthorised person”.
If you one of your guns is lost, stolen or missing you must report it to the policy immediately, with details of make, model, serial number, bore and the details around how it has gone missing.
Keeping Livestock safe is becoming increasingly challenging whether it be from thieves or the general public walking their dogs across farmland, especially if they graze far from your main yard and buildings.
To help protect your livestock from thieves you should regularly check fields with livestock and keep all hedges, fences and gates in good repair. If able then the gates should always be closed and locked, as well as making sure the shed and stockyard gates are also closed and locked.
Always make sure livestock are tagged, identification is essential for proof of ownership and it can help to deter thieves. Things like ear tags, earmarking, tattooing, Freeze branding or microchips can put criminals off staling livestock. Taking photos or videos of valuable animals with the brand or tags clearly visible can also help. Keep recent and accurate records of all your livestock, this will help keep tabs on what is going in and out if the farm.
Dog walkers are becoming an ever-increasing issue with livestock owners. Making sure you have visible signage around your livestock requesting dogs to be kept on leads can make it clear to walkers that it is dangerous for their dogs to be off the lead. Checking livestock regularly that are situated on land that has public footpath access is also a must to keep on top of what is going on.
If you have an incident these should be reported to the police immediately.
Farm Yard and Farm House.
As a farmer your work is your life and often you live on your farm. Having a stranger come on to your property and steal and damage your belongings can affect you psychologically as well as physically. Not only have your belongings been stolen or damage you now don’t feel safe in your own home or at your workplace.
There are some steps you can take to keep your house and farm secure and to deter criminals.
Make sure you invest in some good locks for your doors and widows in your house and around the farm. Make sure gates are always locked when you’re not around. Often placing concrete blocks or rollers in gateways that are not being used regularly deters trespassers.
Be aware of unfamiliar people come and going, driving into or around the farm, stopping and asking unusual questions or trying to sell you machinery. Always report any suspicious activity to the police as soon as possible.
Keep logs of tools around the farm and valuables around the house, this can be descriptions or photographs. This makes it easier if an incident has occurred, to recover items.
Security lights around entrances to building and your property can be a great deterrent for criminals and can often alert you to something going on. CCTV is also a great way to put criminals off entering your property. Technology has evolved and some of the CCTV systems available aren’t too costly and they can alert you via your mobile phone if activity is detected.