Farmers warned about criminal gangs targeting popular pick-ups

Police have been urging farmers to secure their pick-up trucks as they are increasingly targeted by thieves – often for overseas export.

Police have been urging farmers to secure their pick-up trucks as they have been targeted by thieves. 

Newer models of pick-up trucks, especially Toyota Hilux, have caught the attention of “sophisticated criminals” who compromise keyless entrance systems. 

To protect their property against gangs, farmers should adopt a combination of traditional and technological security. 

Rural insurer NFU Mutual noticed an increase in the theft of pick-ups and is also urging owners to take action to protect their vehicles. 

Prevention is key 

The company’s rural affairs specialist, Hannah Binns, said: “Pick-ups are prized by farmers and the rural community for their practicality and hardiness, but safely this makes them a repeat target for thieves. 

“We work with the National Rural Crime Unit to help track down thieves and trace stolen vehicles, returning them to their owners where possible. 

“Prevention is key, and we’d urge owners to keep their vehicles locked at all times when not in use and park in well-lit areas which are overlooked.” 

Farmers can fit an accredited alarm for security and a tracking device to locate their pick-up truck or vehicle if stolen. 

Ms Binns added that farmers should also consider etching the vehicle identification number on windows, marking any component parts with forensic marking solutions, and photographing any unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs to help aid identification. 

“We’d also urge farmers not to share information on social media, which could indicate where their vehicle is kept,” she said. 

Combination of measures 

DC Chris Piggott of the National Construction and Agri Thefts Team of NRCU said: “We have seen a large number of Toyota Hilux stolen by organised criminal gangs. Most of them are less than five years old, and they are being electronically compromised without any need to access the vehicle keys. 

“It is therefore worth doing all you can to fortify your vehicle, using a combination of measures such as immobilisers and tracking devices as well as traditional methods like pedal and steering wheel locks to deter or hinder thieves. 

“If you’re able to do so, it’s worth keeping the vehicle in a garage when not in use.” 

DC Piggott added that the Midlands and South East of England have been worst affected recently, but criminal gangs often move between regions, so everyone should stay on alert. 

READ MORE: Shropshire farmers warned after recent burglary and car thefts

What can farmers do to secure their pick-up trucks? 

NFU Mutual issued advice on how farmers can protect their vehicles: 

  • Keeping the vehicle locked at all times when not in use. 
  • Fitting an accredited alarm for security and a tracking device to locate your vehicle if stolen. 
  • Marking the vehicle with a forensic marking solution or system. 
  • Keeping the vehicle in a lockable building if possible, or park in well-lit areas that are overlooked. 
  • Having the vehicle identification number etched on the windows. 
  • Consider fitting a hidden battery isolation or a fuel cut-off switch.    
  • Taking photographs of unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs that could aid identification if stolen. 
  • Ensuring any valuables are removed from the vehicle. 
  • Not sharing information on social media that could indicate where your vehicle is kept. 
  • For modern vehicles, keeping electronic keys in a faraday pocket or box at night. 

Read more rural crime news.

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