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6 tips for protecting yourself from farm machinery GPS thefts

Following an increase in GPS thefts, the NFU is urging farmers to protect their equipment and take appropriate steps to make it as difficult as possible for thieves to gain access.

The NFU first saw a surge in thefts pre-harvest 2020 but the trend has continued to rapidly spread into a nationwide issue, leaving police and insurance companies to deal with cases from all across the country. Thefts of GPS systems is a major concern for farmers. The equipment can be costly to replace and can massively disrupt day to day farming operations. The technology plays a vital role in modern farming and thefts of systems can take time to replace, causing delays during busy periods such as harvest.

To help protect GPS systems from thieves, NFU Mutual provides the following advice: • Activate PIN security on GPS kit with your own unique number if available. • If your system is not PIN enabled, mark your postcode to deter thieves and trace your property back to you. • Keep tractors and combines with GPS fitted stored out of sight when possible. • Remove GPS kit when possible from tractors and other machinery and store it securely when not in use. • Record serial numbers and photograph your kit. • Check serial numbers of second-hand kit offered for sale.

In one case, NFU county chair for Lancashire Lisa Edwards fell victim to tech-savvy thieves. Although tractors were housed in an alarmed barn, Lisa was unable to remove the GPS dome from the combine. It was stolen alongside the screen used to operate the combine. It had huge consequences meaning harvest was delayed while a temporary screen was fitted. Altogether it cost nearly £10,000.

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