WHILE there was little action on farms in the first two months of 2013, the light fingered brigade have been busy, with the leading rural insurer reporting a 35 per cent increase in tractor thefts.
According to the NFU Mutual, six tractors worth £30,000 lor more were stolen in January alone and rural thieves also targeted quad bikes, telescopic loaders and utility vehicles.
The Mutual, which insures more than 70 per cent of UK farm businesses, warned farmers to review their farmyard security following this sharp rise in tractor and quad thefts.
The shock rise in stolen vehicles comes after a prolonged period of falling tractor thefts following a peak in 2010 but it also follows a period of intense activity to improve tractor security and policing which has involved farmers, police forces throughout the UK, the Borders Agency and NFU Mutual.
Over the past two years, manufacturers have started to introduce unique keys to most new tractor models as well as the use of a unique marking system having become widespread on older machines.