The theft of farm machinery can occur at any time – but certain trends have been established, which farmers can use to be more vigilant, according to An Garda Síochána.

Offering some crime prevention advice in the area of farm security, Gardaí based in Co. Kildare outlined some of the facts that farmers should be aware of.

First off, trailers are the most commonly stolen item of farm machinery, Gardaí note.

Increased amounts of these thefts occur in spring and autumn, which may be related to peak farming activity.

However, thefts can occur at all hours and days of the week. Farm items that are commonly stolen include tractors, quad bikes, gates and fertiliser.

Offering four bullet points of “simple but effective farm machinery theft prevention advice”, Gardaí said:
  1. Store your tools and smaller machinery in secured buildings close to the farmhouse. Photograph machinery and tools, keep a detailed record of make, serial number and colour. Mark the property with a uniquely identifiable brand in both obvious and secret locations;
  2. Restrict access to your farmyard, install gates and fix them to sturdy concrete or metal posts. Keep them locked and consider appropriate signage such as “private property”;
  3. Consider installing an alarm and CCTV in vulnerable areas out of view of the farm house. Install good lighting to illuminate areas viewed from the home or covered by CCTV;
  4. Consider joining a Community Alert scheme or starting your own.

Report suspicious activity to local Gardaí immediately, the Garda advice urged.

Moving from machinery to better farm security in general, Gardaí advised to ensure that your yard is well lit. One should always report farm thefts to An Garda Síochána.

For firearms storage, farmers are advised to use a secure firearms cabinet, secured to a solid wall.

Finally, fencing, hedges and walls should be robust, well maintained and checked regularly for breaches or weaknesses.