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Three arrested after thefts from farms in Spalding, Grantham, Boston, Louth and Lincoln

Three men have been arrested in connection with thefts from farms.

Police have received report of 16 thefts of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) between February and May where a number of farms in Spalding, Grantham, Boston, Louth, and Lincoln have been targeted and their stolen.

GPS equipment and components worth thousands are used to provide precision positioning for cultivation and harvesting operations on farms across the world and have become one of the most targeted pieces of farm equipment because of their high value and portability.

Police have arrested three people PHOTO: STOCK
Police have arrested three people PHOTO: STOCK

Three men were arrested in connection with some of the recent thefts as part of a national effort in April. They have been released on bail while inquiries are ongoing.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused as result of the thefts.

The damage caused, as well as the amount lost to the theft of the equipment, is believed to amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

PC James Knychala of the Rural Crime Action Team said: “A typical value for such items is between a few thousand pounds for a low-end product, and tens of thousands of pounds for a top-end licensed unit. When a farmer loses this kit, it not only causes an insurance claim for loss of the kit, but also impacts them as they cannot run their business in the manner they are used to.

“This then causes a loss of earning and a reduced stock, which will ultimately be passed on to the consumer. This equipment is an essential piece of modern farming, especially when farmers are working on very tight margins.”

Hannah Binns, NFU Mutual Rural Affairs Specialist, is urging farmers to take action.

She said: “This new wave of GPS theft is incredibly alarming, especially as farmers start gearing up for the busy harvest period.

“It is also worrying to hear that thieves are targeting farms who have previously had GPS stolen, especially when considering the financial and emotional impact these crimes have already had on those farmers.

“Together with the National Rural Crime Unit, we’re urging farmers to take all possible steps to protect their GPS equipment, such as removing them from tractors, combines and other machines where safe to do so and lock them somewhere securely when not in use.

“If it’s not practical to remove units from machines, try and park vehicles where they cannot be easily seen. Also consider forensically marking, painting, or scratching your farm name or post code onto the GPS to make them less attractive to thieves and harder to sell on.”

How to protect GPS systems?

Stay vigilant and follow these security steps to keep your GPS equipment safe.

Activate PIN security on GPS kit with your own unique number if it’s available.

Mark your postcode on the unit’s case to deter thieves and trace your property back to you.

Keep tractors and combines with GPS fitted stored out of site whenever 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.

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