Farm pick-up trucks have become a growing target for rural thieves, with the number stolen more than doubling, according to insurer NFU Mutual.
Farmers are being advised to fit additional security measures to their vehicles – even on battered 10-year-old models – as theft claims dealt with so far this year by the insurer show that the older Toyota Hilux and Mitsubishi L200 are the most regularly targeted pick-ups.
The average age of L200s stolen this year is 12 years, and 10 for Hilux vehicles. Thieves have also targeted VW Amaroks, Range Rovers and Land Rover Defenders and their parts.
NFU Mutual agricultural engineering specialist Bob Henderson said: “This is alarming news for the large number of farmers who use pick-up trucks as their workhorse vehicle to carry feed and tools around the farm and tow livestock trailers to market.
“For years thieves have targeted Defenders and older Land Rovers because of their high value and potential for resale as vehicles or parts.
“With prices of new and used replacement pick-ups rising fast, thieves now find it worthwhile stealing pick-ups – even if they are over 10 years old and battered from hard work on farms.”
‘Farms will continue to be target’
Constable Chris Piggott of the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) said: “As well as being stolen for onward sale and financial gain, these vehicles are also being targeted by hare coursers with links to other forms of criminality.
“Many of these vehicles aren’t fitted with the immobilisers, trackers and alarms fitted to newer vehicles. Until now, this hasn’t been as much of a problem, but now that pick-ups are proving desirable to criminals, there’s an urgent need for farmers to improve security.
“It’s absolutely essential to ensure keys are always removed and doors locked whenever you leave the vehicle. Keeping vehicles out of sight where possible and using mechanical devices like steering and pedal locks are also an effective deterrent for older models. Retrofitting alarms, immobilisers and tracking devices is also well worth considering.”
Bob Henderson added: “Sadly there’s little doubt that criminals will continue to target farms as the cost of living crisis bites hard this winter.”