FERMANAGH police have urged local owners of farming and plan machinery to be on their guard against theft, with a several large and expensive machines stolen in recent weeks.
Police are currently trying to establish if there is a link between the thefts of a digger and a loader from Irvinestown and Lisnaskea areas over the past two weeks.
Machines and farm equipment have also been stolen in the wider area over the past month, such as in Fintona and close to the Fermanagh border in Monaghan.
Referring to the Irvinestown and Lisnaskea thefts, a PSNI spokesman said “a link between these incidents is under investigation.” They added officers had stepped up patrols of commercial and rural sites in the area.
Inspector Neil Taylor noted there were also simple measures people could take to protect their yards.
“These machines are high value and are often essential to the day-to-day operating of a farm or business. So their loss is keenly felt, both in terms of financial loss to the business and inconvenience caused,” said Insp Taylor.
“We are working hard to keep our areas as safe as possible and a few measures could help make your site less attractive to criminals.
“Diggers and other plant machinery and quad bikes can all be a target for thieves. There are many anti-theft devices available such as alarms, immobilisers and tracking systems to help prevent and deter this type of theft.”
Insp Taylor recommended storing equipment, machinery and vehicles in a secure alarmed building.
“Ideally secure this equipment with heavy duty chains and padlocks to other equipment or fixed points when they are not in use,” he said.
“Consider the use of a ‘secured by design standard’, an anti-theft keyed locking device.
“It should go without saying but all vehicles should be locked when not in use and remove keys/battery or distributer cap from vehicles when not in use.”
Insp Taylor also suggested putting lockable fuel caps on machinery and marking equipment, vehicle and machinery with at least two identification marks, such as stamping on or engraving your postcode.
Other options to protect property include making sure your property boundary is in good conditions with no holes or gaps, locking gates, putting up guard dog, alarm or CCTV signs, using security lights and sensors, and considering installing CCTV.
Insp Taylor also recommended using the Cesar/Datatag electronic marking scheme for your high value equipment.
“It uses state-of-the-art identification technologies to permanently mark and protect your property,” he said.
“This is Police Service-approved scheme and for more information see www.datatag.co.uk/about.php”
Insp Taylor added, “We would encourage those in our rural community to join Farm Watch schemes encourage everyone to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us on 101. Together we can work to keep the burglar at bay this winter.”
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