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Top security tips from NFU Mutual and NaVCIS

To protect quads and other ATVs from thieves, NFU Mutual and the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVICS) has issued the following advice:

  • Always remove keys and keep them stored securely, away from the vehicle.
  • When not in use, keep quads and all-terrain-vehicles locked up out of sight.
  • Install tracking devices and immobilisers to make it easier for police to recover stolen vehicles - most modern tracking devices are GPS enabled, with alarms/alerts that will send a message informing you if your machine is being tampered with. You can also set working hours and Geofences to alert you if a machine is being moved outside of a pre-set working area.
  • Use CESAR marking to deter thieves and enable police to identify stolen machinery.
  • Target-harden your quad by creating a security cage or use a mechanical device such as steering brake/lock, ground anchor or wheel clamp when not in use - these devices are both visible and physical deterrents to thieves.
  • Know what you own – keep records of serial numbers and photographs of your kit including unique identifying features.
  • When buying a new quad insist on a chipped key and immobilisation system.

Theft of quad bike has 'real impact' on farm work

Richard Willcox runs a 220-acre livestock farm near Highbridge in Somerset, rearing dairy heifers and a flock of 80 ewes.


He grew up in a farming family and has lived and worked on the Somerset farm for more than 30 years.


In May 2020, Mr Willcox had a quad bike stolen, almost exactly a year to the day from when one was stolen in broad daylight in May 2019.


Mr Willcox said: “My quad bike was stolen from inside the workshop on the farm overnight. They also took a strimmer, some scrap batteries and other tools from the workshop too.


“A similar incident happened the year before, but that time the quad was taken in the middle of the afternoon.


"Returning after being out for the afternoon, I found the padlock on the gate broken and the quad was gone.


"CCTV from the property opposite captured a white van leaving and entering the property and they were in and gone within just a few minutes.


“I have my suspicions that it was the same gang that returned this year. The quad is such a vital piece of kit that they must have known that I would replace it.


“Since the second theft, I have invested in a steel roller shutter on the workshop and a motion sensor inside that alerts us at the house to any movement at night. The new quad also has a tracker installed.


“The theft in 2019 occurred when I had left the farm for the afternoon and you have that thought in the back of your head each time the farm is vacant that something like that might happen again.”


Mr Willcox has also experienced cases of “cold-callers” coming to the farm to stake out what is there and, having spoken to neighbours and fellow farmers, knows that there are often sightings of suspicious vehicles in the area.


“It is unsettling to think that people might be staking out the farm and trying to work out what we have here, particularly as it’s not just a place of work but my home too," he said.


"I am sure the thieves know the layout of farms in the area and come prepared to load up quads and any other equipment they can get their hands on.


“I get cold callers coming to the farm offering to buy scrap metal, but I can tell which ones are genuine and know that the others are using it as a chance to get on site and see what is here.”


As a sole trader, Mr Willcox relied on his quad to get him out and around the farm quickly, and used it for everything from rounding up sheep to getting feed to cattle.


“I use the quad almost every day so it had a real impact on my work not having one when it was stolen, I really could not do without it,” he added.

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