Many farms, by their nature, are in isolated areas of the countryside and the police are urging rural communities to work with them, and together, to prevent crime and deter criminals over the summer months.
Supt. Brian Kee, PSNI Service Lead for Rural and Wildlife Crime, said: “It is important that we all work together to make the countryside safer for everyone. Reporting promptly to the police any activity that raises your suspicions is a good way to initiate our investigation and will help to deter criminals and reduce crime in your area.
“It could be an unusual vehicle seen parked or travelling on a road in the area, or someone calling and asking for directions. Remember that these could well be criminals checking out what’s on offer, what vehicles they will need to transport the machinery they intend to steal, and the level of farm security. Take a note of the vehicle registration number and a description of the vehicle and pass that onto Police.
Criminals are always on the lookout for valuable items that they can easily re-sell. Quads, trailers and other items of farm machinery should therefore be kept locked away in garages or outbuildings, when not in use. And, for added security, people should consider locking gates, using British Standard closed shackled padlocks, at yards and on laneways to prevent unauthorised vehicular access.
“Preventing crime and being switched on to crime prevention will help to protect your property. Don’t make life easy for the criminals. Putting frequently used machines away and locking up sheds and outbuildings may seem like a chore you can do without, but it won’t be as inconvenient as having an important and valuable piece of equipment stolen.
“Make your property unique to you by permanently marking all items with your postcode and house number. The marking should be placed on parts of the equipment that will be difficult for the thieves to disguise or expensive for them to replace.
“Remember to take a photograph of the machinery and keep a list of makes, models, serial numbers, colour and a record of any damage. Owners should also seriously consider using anti-theft systems such as security tagging, and electronic tracking devices in addition to wheel clamps and hitch locks.
” Make sure your oil tanks are locked, and are situated in well-lit areas. Keep receipts from the latest delivery and check the oil level regularly. Any oil drums should be locked away in a secure building.
“Farmers also need to give some thought to the security of their livestock, and in addition to keeping records of stock numbers and making regular checks to ensure all is in order, farmers should also record the colour and location of dye markings. Access to fields should not be overlooked either, and here too gates leading to fields should be securely locked at all times.
“Anyone who would like further crime prevention advice on this or any other subject is asked to contact their local crime prevention officer on the 101 number.
“Any member of the public wanting to speak to Police about a non-emergency matter should dial 101. People should continue to call 999 in an emergency, when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened. If you would to provide information anonymously please call the Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.”