Police have put farmers and rural communities on alert after thieves drove away in a £20,000 all-terrain vehicle in the early hours of Friday morning (July 23).
Thieves stole the green and black John Deere Gator ATV after breaking into a farm barn between 1.30am and 4.30am.
They escaped by driving across surrounding fields near Banbury Road, Lower Boddington, and detectives are now appealing for witnesses who may have seen the vehicle in the area or been offered one for sale in suspicious circumstances to get in touch by calling 101 using incident number 21000411909.
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Rural Crime Officer, PC Chloe Gillies said: “Agricultural equipment and vehicles are often both vital to the running of a business as well as a huge investment, and we’re doing all we can to help our rural community to protect themselves.
“Most of the items we recover are those with a tracking device attached, and we would therefore urge owners to consider fitting these to their vehicles in addition to other crime prevention options such as alarms.
“However, there are other simple, key prevention measures owners can take, such as clearly and permanently marking possessions ideally with their surname and postcode. This makes them less attractive to criminals as well as easier to return, if recovered.
“Keeping a detailed, up-to-date list of all your equipment is also really important, so for a handling system this would include noting the brand and component parts, such as number of hurdles, sizes, whether it includes guillotine gates, turnover crates, and so on.
“Or taking detailed photos of vehicles and making a note of identifying features such as a damaged indicator, which could help with the recovery of their property, and keeping all related paperwork together and secure.
“This should include a list of VRNs, chassis and registration plate numbers, which can be added to the Police National Computer and a stolen marker put against it, so if recovered, can be linked back quickly to the owner.”
Stolen equipment is usually moved out of the county quickly but the Rural Crime Team swap intelligence with neighbouring forces to help recover property.
PC Gillies added: “We work very closely with our neighbouring forces to locate and recover property which has been stolen from Northamptonshire or across the county borders.
“A great example of this was the theft of a Ifor Williams livestock trailer from Upper Boddington, earlier this year. Although it didn’t have a tracker device fitted, we shared its details with our colleagues in Warwickshire.
“Officers from the Rural Crime Team went straight out to check known haunts and within an hour they had located a livestock trailer, with a serial number which matched that of our stolen trailer. The owner was over the moon to get it back!”
Tips for protecting agricultural equipment and vehicles
■ Clearly mark equipment and vehicles with your postcode and surname
■ Don’t store items in isolated or insecure locations
■ Make a list of all your equipment, including product name, any serial numbers, type and size of component parts, any security features or distinctive marks. Take photos too if you can
■ At auctions, report any suspicious activity to police – include descriptions and registrations
■ If you suspect any lots could be stolen, immediately inform the auctioneer and the police
■ Keep all vehicle paperwork together and secure – not with the vehicle
■ Log VRNs and chassis numbers, make written descriptions and take photos
■ Consider using crime prevention products to protect your premises and items
Anyone reporting suspicious vehicles or activity should call 101 or click the Northamptonshire Police website HERE.