Rural crime and farm thefts | Devon & Cornwall Police
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Rural crime and farm thefts

Mark, secure, record, alarm and lock

Stop rural crime in its tracks

Rural properties and farms can be a target for thieves because they are isolated. Expensive power tools, quad bikes, machinery and diesel, kept in unsecured barns and outbuildings are very attractive to opportunistic thieves.

By taking some simple steps you can help prevent crime.

Farm buildings

  • Lock doors and windows.
  • Put up a gate and lock the entrance to your estate.
  • Use security lighting.
  • Consider an alarm system.
  • Secure your office and computer equipment.
  • Use timer switches on lights.
  • If appropriate, install CCTV.
  • Mark all your property. For more information on this visit our Property Marking pages.

Vehicle and equipment security

  • Immobilise or lock farm vehicles away.
  • Don’t leave keys in the ignition.
  • Keep tools locked away.
  • Consider fitting tracking devices.
  • Mark and register your tools and equipment.

Fuel theft

Lock your fuel tank and hide containers. You could consider using fuel tank alarms and improving lighting around fuel tanks. Installing CCTV that focuses on fuel tanks is a further option.

Scrap metal

  • Scrap metal is in demand due to high prices. Don’t leave it lying around.
  • Mark valuable metal, such as lead and copper.
  • Paint a distinctive mark on gates and take photos.
  • Dispose of scrap metal regularly and properly.

Livestock and horse security

  • Monitor your livestock regularly.
  • Record details of suspicious people or vehicles and contact police.
  • Keep photos of your horses taken in summer and winter.
  • Join your local Farm and Horse Watch schemes. See below for more details.

Boundary security

Lock gates with padlocks and secure hinges to stop gate theft. Maintain the boundaries of your estate to prevent loss.

Register with Farm Watch/Horse Watch

Farm Watch look after property through the sharing of intelligence between the community and the police. They provide a ring-round service, encourage neighbours to look out for each other and give officers an opportunity to get to know their local community. They also provide property marking and crime prevention advice.

Horse Watch members work together to reduce theft of horses, ponies and equestrian equipment. If you would like to join, visit the Watch Scheme pages.

Report any suspicious vehicles, trespassers or anyone asking about scrap metal to the police. A bona fide dealer will have ID.
If you see vehicles or people loitering, or potentially looking for opportunities, call police.

Mark your property. Register equipment, vehicles and other items on


  • Created: 17/04/2009 15:41:32 |
  • Modified: 26/03/2013 13:29:05

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