Farmers must be vigilant and ramp up their security measures following the rising spate in Land Rover Defender thefts, NFU Mutual and North Yorkshire Police have said.
At least four Defender thefts a week were reported to the insurer in January and while numbers fell to six a month from April to June, the firm has seen a sharp rise in thefts reflective of pre-Covid-19 levels.
Rebecca Davidson, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist, said: “Land Rover Defenders continue to be a target for thieves and every week farmers and enthusiast owners are waking up to find their precious Land Rovers gone – or stripped of bonnets, doors and wings.
“There is a burgeoning black market for parts, with many of these beloved classics getting dismantled in driveways and farmyards, or being whisked away to chop shops."
21 incidents, involving the theft of 15 Land Rover Defenders and interference of six, were reported to North Yorkshire Police this year, with Craven and Ryedale the worst hit areas.
Speaking about North Yorkshire Police (NYP) new campaign, Defend Your Defender, Inspector Matt Hagen, of North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce said: “Land Rovers continue to be the workhorses of many farms and rural businesses – so when they are stolen or damaged it has a significant impact.
“That is why it is so important to check your security, and put in place extra measures to defend your defender.
“Vehicle trackers in particular are invaluable, and can make all the difference in recovering a stolen vehicle and identifying suspects.”
“We are making life as difficult as possible for criminals.”
He added patrols were proactively stopping and checking Land Rovers, using ANPR technology to target suspicious vehicles linked to thefts.
Claim costs for thefts of Defenders rose 34 per cent to £2.1 million in 2019 according to NFU Mutual.
A combination of physical security and electronic measures to protect vehicles have been advised by NFU Mutual and NYP.