Police officers from all over the west, Borders and Lothians took over Ross of Lanark’s showroom and sheds last Thursday to learn more about stopping plant and farm equipment thefts.
Dozens of officers were given a presentation at a rural crime prevention session, and then they were able to get to grips with top-of-the-range-tractors, along with quad bikes and trailers – among the most common targets of rural thieves – to see what their security features are, and know what to look for on vehicles they suspect are stolen.
All were laid on by the Lanark agricultural machinery company.
“Ross of Lanark has gone beyond the moon and stars with the equipment they are providing for us,” said Clydesdale community officer James Higgins.
“The event has been a tremendous success.”
The event was organised by the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, NFU Mutual and Police Scotland’s Safer Communities initiative.
“We’re talking tractors,” officers were told on arrival.
NFU Mutual insures three-quarters of the farmers and landowners in the UK, and its claims were increasing by £2m a year until 2010, when it had claims of more than £10m.
At that point, it liaised with the police on a pilot scheme, and one of its early successes was tracing nine stolen tractors to Poland, and another nine to Cyprus, and those thefts were just the tip of the iceberg, they believe.
Increased awareness and security is cutting losses, but the seminar gave officers and traffic departments the chance to see for themselves the security measures on farm equipment to teach them how to identify stolen equipment.
They were told about Caesar datatags, triangular plates which include a transponder on vehicles, and many more covert identifying features.