The Farming Social Hub - a voice for the farming community

Thieves go on spree in Norfolk

There has been a significant increase in the amount of farm thefts in recent weeks, with thieves targeting expensive GPS equipment kept in tractors and other farm equipment. In Norfolk, three farms in the Brecklands were hit in 24 hours by thieves targeting the valuable satellite guidance systems.

The three farms around the Dereham, Swaffham and Thetford area lost equipment worth in excess of £50,000 as the thieves struck on 15 August.

At Methwold, nine screens and two receivers were stolen from tractors and sprayers within 20 minutes of the farm stopping its harvest operations for the night, shortly after midnight on Saturday.

Jon Chandler,  director of rural security firm Farmwatch and a regular guest on the Farming Social Hub podcast, aired on KL1 Radio, said the loss came ‘at a time when farmers can ill afford downtime’.

‘It always happens at this time of year, and it is very costly and upsetting,’ he said, in an interview with the Eastern Daily Press.

‘They have had people invade their business and their home, but this keeps going on. It is getting to the point where they are expecting this to happen, and they have to come to terms with it.’

While this is a story from Norfolk, the trend is UK-wide and there are links with organised crime. Norfolk Police are part of a national working group which shares intelligence and liaises with manufactures to help prevent incidents.

Anyone with information about these crimes or of being offered GPS devices for sale should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting crime reference 36/59235/21 (Methwold), 36/59284/21 (Shipdham) or 36/59298/21 (South Pickenham).

Jon Chandler will be speaking on the Farming Social Hub podcast on Sunday 22 August (downloadable as a podcast), offering advice on how farmers can take steps to prevent theft. A brief resume of some of the points made in the podcast can be read here: