Equipment worth thousands of pounds has been stolen from a north-east farm in a “traumatic” crime that will cause loss of production and severe consequences for the owners.
Police are appealing for information after the theft of four automatic guidance systems and a range of power tools from Maxwell Farms in Carnousie, near Turriff.
The equipment, which is collectively worth a five-figure sum of money, was taken between 11pm on Tuesday, March 26 and 6am on Wednesday, March 27 from locked tractors on the property.
But these incidents are only the most recent in a string of similar offences.
Jamie Smart, chairman of the NFU legal and technical committee and agricultural vehicle adviser, explained that work between NFU and the police was in progress to tackle such crimes with both agencies “aware” of the trend.
He said: “These can be very valuable and expensive pieces of equipment, so there’s not only monetary loss but replacing it, especially at this time of year.
“Guidance systems are used for spring work, sewing, spreading and fertilising and so on, where these GPS devices can help keep the machines on the correct tract from a few feet accuracy down to a few centimetres.
“It seems there is a trend of this type of equipment being targeted at the moment.
“Our advice is to lock away all machinery, where possible remove screens to make them less valuable and make sure they’re listed on insurance and records of the serial numbers are kept.
“Buyers should also be wary. It’s becoming increasingly common as more farms invest in these technologies which are worth between £1,500 and £15,000.”
Local councillor Iain Taylor is involved in the farming industry and confirmed the thefts would have “severe consequences” for the farm involved.
He said: “When you go out in the morning and the stuff you expect to use to make a living is gone, it’s tough. It’s a traumatic crime. It’s terrible we need heightened security to keep these things safe.
“People need to be aware if a guidance system is offered at a knock-down price that it could be stolen goods.
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“Not only will this farm now be knocked completely to pot today, but there could be difficulty with production, expense to replace them, hassle with insurance – the consequences are severe.”
The Trimble guidance systems and power tool stolen have a five-figure value which PC Ian Bain called a “great loss” for any premises.
He appealed to people to come forward with information.