Shropshire Star

Talks to help Shropshire farmers in fight to deter criminal gangs

Shropshire farmers seeing their homes and businesses targeted by thieves are looking at ways to bolster security including using the latest tech to deter ‘criminal gangs’.

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LAST COPYRIGHT NATIONAL WORLD PLC STEVE LEATH 25/01/2024..Pic in Bridgnorth at the Nock Deighton Auction House, where the NFU had organised a rural crime event..

National Farmers’ Union members across the county have reported a spate of machinery and equipment thefts in recent months.

They are now discussing ways to make the best use of immobilisers, tracking devices and forensic marking kits.

Market Drayton, Whitchurch and Wem NFU group secretaries Rebecca Millard and Andrew Bowker have held talks with farmers and said although there was a cost, more and more were considering improved tech to help protect their farms.

Rebecca said: “Trackers offer real-time monitoring of a vehicle and notification of unauthorised movements and I know more of our members are seriously considering having these fitted. They are also looking at immobilisers and forensic marking.

"They can be a vital tool if a tractor, quad bike or vehicle is stolen as the GPS technology means vehicles can be located quickly enabling their safe return.

"Since 2021 the Midlands has seen a 30 per cent hike in the cost of rural crime and driving factors appear to be a shortage of farm vehicles and rising prices. In Shropshire rural theft cost more than £2 million in 2022 up 102 per cent from the year before and this is very worrying and we need to work with the police to deter those responsible.”