Every farmer knows the fear of being unprotected. Farm theft has become rampant in recent years, with counties all across Ireland being affected by machinery and livestock theft and damage. It’s important to take every possible measure in ensuring your livelihood is protected.
The government have collaborated with An Garda Síochána in recent times to initiate farm theft prevention schemes. Last year, five top tips were released by the Gardaí to ensure that crimes are kept to a minimum:
- Restrict access to your yard, install and lock gates
- Ensure your yard is well-lit
- Take pictures of your machinery with your unique ID features
- Sign up for Community Text Alerts
- Always report farm thefts to An Garda Síochána
The aforementioned ‘ID feature’, which was introduced in September 2014 as a part of ‘Theft Stop', was brought in by the IFA, and provides farmers with a unique security code that can be used in identifying any machinery or equipment that may be stolen. It is also linked to IFA membership numbers. There is also a database of all stolen equipment available online.
Here are more tips from the Gardaí on preventing crime, and they are also explained fully in their online pamphlet:
- Where are your tools, quads, trailers and other expensive equipment, and are they vulnerable to theft?
- Have you ever found anyone in your yard without a valid reason for being there?
- Has anyone just turned up unexpectedly to try to buy or sell you something?
- Have you seen suspicious vehicles on your property or in the neighbourhood?
- Fencing, hedges and walls should be robust, well-maintained and checked regularly for breaches.
- Consider installing an alarm in vulnerable areas. An alarm will emit an audible warning and CCTV will provide surveillance on places out of view of the farmhouse.
- Illuminate areas which are overlooked from the dwelling or covered by CCTV.
- Store your tools and smaller machinery items in a building with enhanced security features close to the farmhouse.
- Property marking will identify items as belonging to you. This can be an effective deterrent.
- Photograph machinery and tools.
- To get an idea of scale have someone stand beside larger items such as quads and trailers. Use a ruler for smaller items.
- Make a register of the make, serial number, colour and any unusual features on equipment. Indicate the type of property marking and where applied on the item.
- Stencil your unique code and registered number – for example - BL5 (approx. 8 inches high) on your farm vehicles / plant machinery.
- Use heavy duty etching/stencilling to write your house number and name.
- Permanent heavy-duty marking can be done with a welder or grinder.
- Products such as Forensic DNA type marking can be applied to areas/places not easily detectable by the criminal/thief.
- Contact your local Crime Prevention Officer for information / advice if required.
- Etching or engraving can be done underneath machinery or in areas which will become mud splattered and so remain hidden.
- A permanent marker may be appropriate to mark smaller equipment.
- A soldering iron is effective for permanent marking on plastic areas.
- Do not buy machinery, trailers, tractors, quads, ride-on mowers, etc. from strangers.
- Do not pay cash for goods. NOTE: NO RECEIPT - NO GUARANTEE
- If you are in possession of stolen goods you may be liable to prosecution.
- Consider appropriate good quality locks, bolts and bars on doors and windows.
- Always secure your home, close and lock windows and doors – even if you are only going out for a short time.
- Don’t hide spare keys outside.
- Don’t leave ladders or other climbing aids lying around outside.
- Ensure windows, skylights and vents are protected from the burglar.
- A visible intruder alarm will help deter thieves and provide internal protection for a building. Get specialist advice and shop around for best value.
- In all aspects of security regarding your home and business, good neighbourliness and vigilance are the most effective deterrent against crime and the detection of offenders.
- Watch out for your neighbours and their property, hopefully, they will do the same for you.
- Consider joining your local Neighbourhood Watch / Community Alert.
- A dog can be a noisy deterrent to intruders.
If you have any of your own top tips on reducing theft on the farm, please let us know.