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Surge in rural thefts of iconic Land Rovers

NFU Mutual says thefts of iconic Land Rover Defenders are on the rise.
NFU Mutual says thefts of iconic Land Rover Defenders are on the rise.

Farmers are being told to look after their “Landies” following a rise in thefts of Land Rover Defenders in recent months.

NFU Mutual says traditional Defenders are in high demand since they ceased production in 2016, and the cost of Defender thefts was up 34% to £2.1 million in 2019.

The rural insurer said although thefts of these iconic vehicles decreased during lockdown, they are on the rise again.

“Land Rover Defenders continue to be a target for thieves and every week farmers and enthusiast owners are waking up to find their precious Land Rovers gone – or stripped of bonnets, doors and wings,” said NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, Rebecca Davidson.

“There’s a burgeoning black market for parts, with many of these beloved classics getting dismantled in driveways and farmyards, or being whisked away to chop shops.”

She said NFU Mutual figures showed at least four Defender thefts being reported every week in January, and although this fell to six a month from April to June, the number of thefts is heading back to pre-Covid levels.

“We’re warning people in the countryside to be on high alert,” added Ms Davidson.

“Trackers, alarms and storing vehicles out of sight have all been effective measures protecting these British icons.”

She urged all Land Rover Defender owners to use a combination of physical security and sophisticated electronic measures to protect their vehicles.

Advice from NFU Mutual and the National Vehicle Intelligence Service, which helps track down thieves and return stolen vehicles to their owners, is to keep the vehicle locked at all times when not in use and to park it in a lockable building or well-lit area.

Other advice includes fitting an accredited alarm for security and a tracking device; having the vehicle’s identification number etched on the windows; and keeping photographs of any unusual features, modifications, damage or repairs which could aid identification of the vehicle if it is stolen.

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