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Police officers took part in a farm and construction equipment training day hosted by the rural insurer NFU Mutual last month. Held at NFU... Police training day to tackle farm theft

Police officers took part in a farm and construction equipment training day hosted by the rural insurer NFU Mutual last month.

Held at NFU Mutual’s head office in Tiddington, Warwickshire, the event was hosted by the National Construction and Agricultural Theft Team (NCATT). It was partially funded by NFU Mutual and CESAR and supported by security specialists.

The event was organised by the Combined Industries Theft Solutions forum (CITS), an organisation dedicated to reducing the effects of crime on farming communities and the construction industry.

The cost of rural theft increased by 22% last year as organised criminal gangs targeted farm machinery and GPS components – rising to an estimated £49.5m, up from £40.5m the previous year.

The training day sought to provide full-time police officers, special officers and staff involved in rural crime prevention with opportunities to learn about the latest crime trends and security measures.

Rural crime experts included NFU Mutual vehicle crime specialist Kirsty Hyslop and detective sergeant Chris Piggott, from the NCATT.

They spoke about the latest techniques to protect farm machinery and bring criminals to justice.

A showcase of security systems developed to protect farm equipment included a practical demonstration of Cesar’s machinery marking systems. Other participants included Hitachi, Clancy and Murphy.

Disruptive

Ms Hyslop said: “Rural crime is not only costly but highly disruptive and distressing for farmers and their families. We need to keep up-to-date on the latest trends and security systems to keep these determined criminals at bay.”

NFU Mutual is expected to publish the latest farm theft figures next month. CITS chairman Ian Elliott said: “We’re holding this event to help police forces tackle the organised criminal gangs that are making theft a huge problem for farmers.

CITS works with the police, crime-fighting organisations and machinery manufacturer – including Clancy’s, Hitachi and Leica – to provide officers with the knowledge and detection techniques needed to  combat rural crime.