RASCS News

Protecting Your GPS Equipment: Essential Tips Amid Rising Theft Trends in 2023

Brief your workers about Rural Crime Prevention.

Criminal groups are currently operating in rural areas, targeting valuable tractor Global Positioning Systems (GPS) worth substantial sums.

Recent statistics indicate a significant increase in GPS theft, with the total theft cost exceeding half a million pounds during the first four months of 2023, a more than twofold increase compared to the same period last year.*

April 2023 witnessed a record number of GPS thefts, second only to October 2020. This trend underscores the determination of these criminal groups, resulting in widespread disruption and delays for farmers.

We strongly recommend that farmers take extra precautions. It is advisable to remove GPS systems when feasible and secure machinery in locked sheds or hidden from plain view.

As the busy harvesting season approaches, there is growing concern that these thefts will intensify. Supply chain issues can lead to extended wait times for replacement GPS equipment, resulting in significant disruptions for farmers.

DC Chris Piggott, from the National Construction and Agri Thefts Team (NCATT), which is part of the National Rural Crime Unit, reported that organised criminal groups are targeting GPS equipment on farms throughout the UK. Thefts are being reported from various regions, including recent clusters in North West and North East England and Scotland. It appears that at least two criminal groups are currently active, using various tactics to steal GPS equipment.

To protect your GPS systems from theft, we offer the following recommendations:

  1. Activate PIN security on your GPS equipment with a unique code if available.
  2. If your system doesn’t have a PIN feature, mark it with your postcode to deter thieves and aid in tracing it back to you.
  3. Store tractors and combines with GPS equipment out of sight whenever possible.
  4. Remove GPS equipment from tractors and machinery when not in use and secure it.
  5. Document serial numbers and take photographs of your equipment.
  6. Verify the serial numbers of second-hand equipment offered for sale.
  7. Report any suspicious activity in fields and farmyards to the police.

Brief your workers about Rural Crime Prevention.