Shortly after 7am on Monday morning, Northumbria Police received a report of the vehicle stolen from a farm in the Humshaugh area.
The quad had been fitted with a special tracking device, allowing officers from the rural crime team to swoop into action.
When the vehicle was identified in the Bishop Auckland area, officers from Durham stepped in and within hours of the report being made, the quad was recovered.
A 17-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of theft and has since been released under investigation as enquires continue.
Inspector Garry Neill, who leads Northumbria Police’s rural crime team said: “We know quad bikes are an essential part of farming and these types of items are expensive to replace and can cause significant financial and work-related stress for the victims.
"This was the farmer’s only available quad bike and the loss of it meant he would not be able to manage his business.
“In this case, the farmer absolutely did the right thing by contacting police as soon as possible and the fact he had fitted a tracker to his vehicle meant we were able to pinpoint the quad’s exact location and within hours the quad was recovered and a suspect in custody.
“Thanks to the foresight of the farmer and his tracker and our colleagues at Durham, we were able to reunite the owner with his quad swiftly.
“We do all we can to tackle these types of crimes but measures such as trackers can have a huge benefit.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “This incident is a great example of how a plan can come together in the fight against crime.
"Great preventative measures and action taken by the farmer and a fast joined-up policing response which soon saw the quad bike back in the hands of its rightful home owner. Anyone who thinks they can get away with theft like this needs to think again.”
Crimes can be reported to the police on 101 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.