Smart tech can help beat farming thieves

Farms and other rural businesses need to re-double their efforts to protect their property as criminals use drones, Google Earth and more traditional drive-bys to check out security measures.

That was the message given by Inspector Alan Dron, Police Scotland’s National Rural Crime Co-ordinator this week:

“Criminals are getting more intuitive and using smarter technology to carry out crimes, so any steps farmers, crofters and small holders can take to protect their property will help.”

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However, writing in NFU Scotland’s membership magazine, Dron said that thanks to many farmers, crofters and smallholders taking steps to protect their property, Police Scotland was managing to retrieve more and more stolen agricultural vehicles, plant and quads - due to many businesses investing in smart technology, security and trackers to protect their property.

“Currently the popular targets are quads, trailers and tractors,” said Dron.

“There’s a market for them but sadly don’t be fooled into thinking lightning doesn’t strike twice. Quite often the thieves can return a few weeks after the initial incident as they know there will be a new replacement vehicle on site that is there for the taking. We do record several repeat offenses.

He said that personalising any vehicle would help with identification and recovery – and advised farmers to make notes about the vehicle identity number (VIN), distinguishing or unique features and to take photos:

“The more intelligence we have, the more likely we are to complete the jigsaw and track criminals down. Working together we can help protect rural Scotland against crime.”