Police are advising farmers to make sure they keep a close eye on their quad bikes, especially during lambing season.
Officers say vehicle security can be easily overlooked when farmers are kept busy at all hours and they want to remind the farming community to be vigilant, despite their long hours, and make sure they don’t put their quads at risk of opportunist thieves.
Superintendent Andy Huddleston, of Northumbria Police, said: “We know that during the peak lambing season, farmers are using their quad bikes at all hours of the day and night to check on their sheep and to help with lambing.
“It may seem more convenient to leave the ignition key in the quad to save a few precious seconds of time when dashing between farm and fields, but this can make these expensive pieces of vital farming equipment vulnerable to thieves.
“We want to help farmers to prevent such thefts by advising them to pocket their keys when they park up – even if just for a couple of minutes – it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Police are also running operations with Farm Watch members during the next month to help make the area unattractive to thieves.
And they are encouraging quad bike owners to consider fitting a tracking device to help officers locate any stolen bikes. It may also be worth checking with your insurance company as you may get a discount if you fit such security devices.
Officers offer the following advice:
l Keep the ignition keys stored safely, separate from any quad bikes, to make them less attractive to thieves
l Report any suspicious behaviour to police by calling 101 straightaway
l Keep your vehicles and farming machinery in a locked building not left out in the open
l Make sure the building is secure and consider installing a ground security device
l Where possible keep your smaller items such as quad bike behind a larger heavy vehicle such as a tractor, making it more difficult for thieves to get access to the more portable item without first moving the larger vehicle.
For further crime prevention advice visit http://www.northumbria.police.uk/advice_and_information/crime_prevention/rural_and_farm_crime/quads_trailers_tools/
Members of the farming community are also urged to use Farm Watch bulletins to be aware of areas where thieves are operating. Details of stolen vehicles and other property are circulated and people asked to keep an eye out for these items being offered for sale.