The Country Land Owners Association (CLS) has urged landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Lincolnshire to review their security arrangements ahead of the clocks going back one hour on Sunday (October 25).
The organisation said they needed to consider the protection afforded to their property so as not to become victims of criminals seeking to make the most of the longer, darker nights.
CLA East regional director, Ben Underwood said: “We’ve recently seen figures from the National Rural Crime Survey suggesting rural crime cost £800million last year, so we know burglaries and thefts are a very real threat to people in the countryside.
“Rural areas present a very attractive target for thieves in the winter months, and they will be looking to target machinery, vehicles, fuel and even livestock.
“Being simply aware of the threat is not enough: you need to make it difficult for thieves. A simple, common sense review of existing security arrangements could make all the difference in whether you become a target for criminals or not.
“Small adjustments such as installing security lights and ensuring valuable equipment, vehicles and machinery are stored in secure buildings can seriously cut the chances of being a victim of crime.”
Tom Richardson of Bourne-based CLA member business C&J Supplies, which supplies security products to the agricultural industry and large country estates, said: “People need to take a pragmatic approach because rural crime is getting worse and it is an issue.
“Look at your first line of defence, your gates. You could have the best lock system in the world, but if the quality isn’t there or if the hinges aren’t inverted, then it won’t make any difference because it can be lifted off or a criminal can kick it through.
“If you’ve got a John Deere Gator, for example, which is worth almost £20,000, are you keeping it in a building overnight and are you keeping it locked down? It’s quick and easy to move these vehicles out of sight, into a building, and chained to a ground anchor which just drills straight into the ground.
“A stainless steel steering lock on the ram of your tractor or teleporter is a great way to stop thieves; you put it in full steering lock, expose all the ram, and each lock is purpose made, tractor by tractor, to fit the differing lengths and thicknesses. It doesn’t stop them from being stolen, but it means they can only be driven round in circles.”
Mr Underwood added: “If you’re aware of criminal activity and any suspicious vehicle on your property the most important thing to do is to get the registration number and call 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress. With modern technology, the registration number is the key piece of information the Police require – but it needs to be reported to them immediately to be most effective.”
Here are some quick fire security tips for farmers and landowners;
* Regularly review your security arrangements – just because you haven’t been the victim of crime, doesn’t mean this will always be the case.
* Ensure your first line of defence, your farm gate, is of the right quality and installed correctly – make it difficult for people to gain access to your property.
* Add security lighting that is activated by movement – also consider the installation of cameras in high-risk or exposed areas, such as around fuel tanks.·
* Park vehicles in locked, secure buildings and ensure the keys are stored separately from them – a ground anchor can be installed for further piece of mind.·
*Think about the quality of locks you are using to secure your property – ensure what you are using is robust enough to deter criminals from attempting to cut or break them.