Police have seen a surge in thefts of sheep handling systems in recent months prompting fears organised gangs could be stealing the equipment to order.
Farmer John Hanson, Coventry, said 10 Countrywide metal hurdles were stolen from his loaded trailer on December 10 last year but said he had since heard of a number of similar incidents.
He believed the thefts were becoming a trend after the thieves chose to only take the hurdles despite there being other farm equipment nearby.
“I have a funny idea the handling systems are being stolen to order," he said.
Report anything suspicious and ensure all items are identifiable direct to the owner:
“When I reported it I was told it had been the second incident in that week and similar thefts in the area had been absolutely rife. It will cost me nearly £3,000 to replace it.”
Chloe Gillies, wildlife and rural crime officer for South Northamptonshire Police, said she had seen a spike in the number of sheep handling systems being stolen towards the end of last year.
But while there had been a dip since December, she worried thieves may be moving on to other counties and said farmers must be aware.
“This type of theft tends to target isolated locations because it is a case of no one is able to see the items being stolen," she said.
“We urge people to report anything suspicious and if you see a thieve in action – do not chase them.
“We have a much greater chance of catching them if they don’t know you know they are there.”
NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Tim Price added: “We are concerned that expensive pieces of kit are becoming more attractive to thieves.
“That is because they tick a lot of boxes – expensive, portable, hard to identify and saleable.”
He said farmers must boost their equipment security, including welding post code details onto the metal and covering equipment in SmartWater, a forensic traceable liquid product, and consider taking photographs and recording serial numbers.