Rural officers remind farmers to remain vigilant to thefts of GPS units
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Right across the UK, police forces have seen a rise in the theft of high value tractor GPS units.
Leicestershire Police are encouraging rural communities to be alert to thefts of high value tractor GPS units and to report any suspicious behaviour.
PC Rob Cross is one of the force’s wildlife crime officers, he covers the Market Bosworth beat and has been working with local farmers to highlight the current issues and to try to prevent further offences. As this problem is not restricted to Leicestershire, PC Cross has also been working with other police forces across the UK to co-ordinate offences and identify offenders.
GPS units are relatively small, comprising of a screen about the size of a laptop and a dome that’s around half the size of a football. These units are placed on top of tractor cabs to receive a GPS signal.
PC Rob Cross said: “These units cost thousands of pounds and are used specifically in the agriculture industry making these crimes quite specialised. Farmers use this type of equipment to maximise their yields, however the units themselves don’t emit a GPS signal, making them difficult to locate once they have been stolen. In many cases, the GPS units are sent abroad to avoid detection.
“From working alongside other police forces, we believe that some of these offences taking place across the UK may be linked. Our enquiries remain ongoing.”
These thefts can have a huge impact on the rural community, damaging the livelihoods of farmers already working in a tough industry. Rural officers are asking farmers to help protect their equipment from theft by:
keeping high value agricultural kit in locked sheds where possible
locking doors on tractors and machinery at all times
consider fitting alarmed beam breakers in yards – these work by using lasers that emit noise once the beam is broken
use a high quality CCTV system. Footage and images captured on a CCTV system can be used to support an investigation, it can also help officers build up a strong evidential picture, pinpointing suspicious vehicles using the road network at specific times
PC Rob Cross added: “Another really important way the rural community can help protect local farmers from high value thefts is to make sure they are reporting any suspicious behaviour to us. If you see any people or vehicles acting in a manner you believe to be unusual, please make a note of any registration numbers or descriptions of people and tell us about it.”
You can report suspicious behaviour to us by calling 101 or reporting online. If you see a crime in action, call 999.