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Protecting Rural Businesses Against Crime

Keith Fowles, Farm Talk, Shropshire Star

Every year rural crime costs millions of pounds and causes untold anxiety to farmers and rural businesses. In Shropshire, it cost £1,230,000 last year.

The items most commonly targeted by thieves across the Midlands over the last 12 months were tools, ATVs/quads and machinery. Fear of crime is changing life in the countryside.

It is a sad state of affairs but with rural crime costing the UK nearly £50 million last year, people living and working in the countryside must now regularly evaluate current security measures, making improvements where necessary and remaining vigilant.

Farmers and rural businesses are being forced to come up with new ways of protecting property.  The use of CCTV cameras, strong lighting and security fences can help, as well as innovative technology such as installing infra-red beams which send alerts to mobile phones and geo-fencing, which triggers an alarm if tractors go beyond farm boundaries.

Farmers should take steps to avoid becoming a victim of crime and ensure their machinery, livestock and equipment is protected, and to secure outbuildings.

Practical Steps to Protect Your Farm:


The installation of CCTV cameras and dummy cameras can help you protect the most vulnerable areas of your farm

2. Tractors and farm machinery

Keep vehicles locked and out of sight and consider “layers of security” such as immobilisers, chip keys and CESAR security marking.

3. Quad bikes and ATVs

Fit GPS tracking devices, wheel clamps and locking posts. Remove the keys and park larger vehicles in front of access doors where possible.

4. Lighting

Criminals do not like to be seen! Check your premises for vulnerable areas and install good lighting to outbuildings, yards and houses to discourage unwelcome visitors.

5. Tools and farm equipment

Tools & farm equipment are very desirable. Take photos of tools, record serial numbers and consider Datatag security marking. Ensure tools are stored in lockable storage containers fixed to the ground or the wall.

6. Livestock

Where possible consider advanced marking systems using coded microdots and  always mark stock using a recommended method. Regularly check fields with livestock and keep fences, hedges and perimeters in good repair.