Farming Insights – Metal theft

In this edition of Farming Insights we consider the all too common issue of metal theft.

Despite the clampdown on regulations within the scrap metal industry, there is still a market for stolen goods; with an estimated 1,000 metal thefts occurring in the UK every week.  These thefts equate to almost 300 tonnes of metal or 300 cars. **

Metal materials are being stolen from various types of locations with rural and agricultural businesses included within those regularly at risk.

To most people, metal items are purchased for a specific use but to a thief, it is viewed simply as a recyclable product. On a farm it is not always easy to secure items when not in use but a little forethought can go a long way.

  • 4×4 vehicles are at risk due to their high ground clearance making it easier to remove the catalytic convertor – a common theft. Parking a vehicle with a lower ground clearance in front of the jeep can make access more difficult.
  • Theft of agricultural vehicle attachments is also common so it is recommended to consider where these are being left when detached from the tractor. Don’t leave them away from the main farm buildings in full view for opportunists. These items should be marked with security marking products so if stolen and recovered they can link the thief to the crime.
  • Always take a note of any unusual vehicles or people on the farm. Report any sightings to the police and tell your neighbours. Use social media to alert friends and neighbours.
  • Take a moment to review security at the farm yard. Although many farmers do not have or want perimeter security fencing, make sure that there is good outside lighting. PIR movement activated lighting can be a great deterrent.
  • Keeping the height of hedging to around 1 metre could be considered. This can provide good visibility over much of the farm and entrance routes.
  • If you have CCTV installed, make sure that there are no tree branches or spring hedge growth that may obscure the cameras. These could unintentionally create blind spots. Display signs to say CCTV is in operation is an added disincentive.
  • Maintenance of any security arrangements is as important and a quick walk round on a regular basis to ensure there is no damage to fencing or gates and that lights are all functioning properly is encouraged. Remember to check that any recording cameras have not been interfered with.

Wherever metal is used or stored, there is a risk of it being stolen. The most important thing is to be aware.

We hope that this is useful and as always should you wish further advice on anything within our Farming Insights or insurance matters please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected]. Or follow us @BSIBFarmEstates

(** source – Scottish Business Resilience Centre)