Advice for rural communities following GPS system thefts across England
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Police are asking those in rural communities to please be vigilant following a national trend of tractor and combine harvester GPS systems being stolen over recent weeks.
The systems are being targeted nationally by thieves at the moment with incidents recently being reported in Frampton on Severn, Bourton-on-the-Water and Cambridge.
A number of neighbouring police forces have also been experiencing thefts and Gloucestershire Constabulary is now asking farmers and those living in rural locations to report any suspicious activity.
In an attempt to stop thieves targeting GPS kits, some manufacturers now provide personal identification numbers (PINs) to prevent the equipment being used by others.
Most GPS kits in use on farms today are fitted to tractors as an easily-removable accessory. To prevent thefts, farmers should remove the kit when it is not in use and store it under lock and key.
Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is warning farmers to increase security in their farmyards following a spring surge in thefts and farmers are asked to consider the below advice from the National Farmers' Union:
Activate PIN security on GPS kit with your own unique number if available
If your system is not pin enabled, mark your postcode to deter thieves and trace your property back to you
Keep tractors and combines with GPS fitted stored out of sight when possible
Remove GPS kit when possible from tractors and other machinery and store it securely when not in use
Record serial numbers and photograph your kit
Check serial numbers of second-hand kit offered for sale
Install good quality CCTV systems and consider Smart Water as they can deter offenders.
Gloucestershire Constabulary has recently launched three new online reporting tools for rural, wildlife and heritage crimes.
The forms comprise of "Report a rural crime", "Report a wildlife crime", and "Tell us about a possible rural or wildlife crime" with the latter form aimed at enabling people to report intelligence of crimes that could happen or are going to happen.