Rural insurer NFU Mutual has launched a quad bike tracker scheme to help protect farmers from repeat thefts.
The company said although its claims data for 2020 showed a decline in the number of quad bikes stolen from UK farms, they still remain a target for criminals.
It said higher-specification quad bike models were more at risk and thefts of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were on the rise – ATVs represented 14% of quad bike thefts in 2020, compared to 11% in 2019.
To aid farmers, the insurer has launched a pilot scheme to provide customers with free tracking and immobilisation equipment on vehicles bought to replace stolen quads and ATVs, following a paid claim.
“We know that thieves often return to a farm where they have stolen a quad in the hope of being able to steal its new replacement,” said NFU Mutual‘s technical engineering manager, Bob Henderson.
“That’s why we’re working on a scheme, initially with manufacturers Honda and Yamaha, with Datatool to install free tracking devices and immobilisers to protect our customers from repeat crime.”
He added: “We also want to keep farmers, who often work alone, safe. The immobiliser systems have smart technology which can raise the alarm if a machine has been impacted or rolled over.”
Mr Henderson said the pilot scheme would cover the cost of the tracker and immobiliser installation and the first year’s subscription, and NFU Mutual is also looking to install trackers and immobilisers on other brands if they meet the required standard and fitting cost.
The scheme was backed by Police Scotland’s Inspector Alan Dron, who co-ordinates the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime.
He urged farmers and crofters to take steps to protect their quads and ATVs from criminals.
Insp Dron said: “Where possible use several layers of security such as marking it with a police-approved property marking system, ensure keys are locked away or always in your possession and when not in use keep out of sight, blocked in or secured within a locked building.
“The most important thing to do is have a tracker and immobiliser fitted to the quad or ATV as, if it is unfortunately stolen, when activated this gives police a genuine opportunity to locate and recover it which is why SPARC really welcomes this new initiative from NFU Mutual.”