Defender thefts soaring, latest statistics show

Owners of Land Rover Defenders urged to take sensible security measures as thefts on course to increase again in 2022.

Land Rover Defender thefts increased by 34% in 2021 after a slight lull in 2020, with the iconic vehicles being targeted by rural criminals and organised gangs who dismantle them for parts.

Data from NFU Mutual shows the cost of Defender theft claims almost doubled in 2021 to £2.6m

The insurer is recommending a mix of traditional and sophisticated electronic security measures.

Rural affairs specialist Rebecca Davidson, said: “We’ve been insuring Land Rovers since they first appeared on British farms, and their iconic status makes these vehicles a regular target for both opportunistic thieves and organised criminal gangs.

“From trusted farm vehicles to coveted collectors’ pieces, Defenders have universal appeal. With older models retaining their vintage value and newer used cars soaring in price, thieves are scouring the countryside for Land Rovers, as well as dismantling them for parts.

“We know that when prices go up, thieves are quick to cash in and the decrease in rural theft that we saw over lockdown is well and truly over.”

NFU Mutual has partnered with Scorpion Track to offer customers discounts of over 50% on sophisticated tracking and anti-theft devices for their vehicles.

DC Chris Piggott of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) said there is particular concern over the older Land Rover Defender models – the workhorses which are so important to farmers’ everyday activity – as they lack modern security systems.

“Owners should therefore fortify their vehicles as much as possible, using a combination of measures such as immobilisers, tracking devices and pedal and steering wheel locks,” he continued.

“It’s also common to see vehicles stripped for parts in situ, but good site security and simple, cost effective measures can make life difficult enough for thieves for them to abandon their attempts.”

NFU Mutual’s top tips for securing classic Rover Defenders:

  • Keep the vehicle locked at all times when not in use
  • Fit an accredited alarm for security and a tracking device to locate your vehicle if stolen – NFU Mutual customers can receive a discount on Scorpion Track devices
  • Fit a mechanical immobiliser such as a steering wheel or pedal lock
  • Thieves will often target component parts so consider marking them using a forensic marking solution or system
  • Keep the vehicle in a lockable building if possible, or park in well-lit areas which are overlooked
  • Have the vehicle identification number etched on windows
  • Consider fitting a hidden battery isolation or a fuel cut-off switch
  • Take photographs of unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs which could aid identification if stolen
  • Ensure any valuables are removed from the vehicle
  • Don’t share information on social media which could indicate where Land Rovers are kept
  • For modern vehicles, keep electronic keys in a faraday pocket or box at night.

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