Top tips to protect property from PCSO Judith Parr

PCSO Judith Parr works within the Pembrokeshire Rural Crime Team. As part of her role, she routinely advises the rural citizens and business owners on crime prevention. When she’s not in uniform, she can often be found helping her daughter, Lucy, at shows. As someone who knows our industry and works in the field, we asked her for some advice on protecting valuable items in our yards, our tack rooms and our tack lockers.

Rural Crime continues to plague the life of many farmers and rural communities with an estimated cost of over £43 million in the UK in 2020. Rural areas and farms are fairly easy targets to opportunist and hardened criminal activity. The horse community is no different as many horse yards are vulnerable due to location and the fact that often expensive lorries, horses and tack are quite “exposed” by the mere fact that such places are known within communities. We all need to be actively responsible and mindful that we are not exempt from such criminal activity as certain items like tack are easy to take and move on and we need to know how we can protect ourselves simply and without too much expense.

Here are some tips for you to consider…

At home

  • Keep all lorries, quad bikes and ATVs locked, out of sight and keep keys in a key safe or safe place. Tracking devices and immobilisers can be fitted and they can help in the recovery of your vehicles.
  • Driveway alarms are useful as they can alert when vehicles come on to your property especially if your property is a distance from the entrance to your house/yard.
  • A good CCTV system that can be linked to your mobile phones and in-house monitor is money well spent as images can be saved and evidence can then be passed on to your local Police.
  • Floodlights and motion sensored lighting/alarms are a good deterrent.
  • Signage on all visible access routes in and around your property saying “CCTV in operation”, “You are being watched” “No access, private track” are all good deterrents.
  • Restricting access to gateways by using chains etc and also use hinge locks to prevent gates from being lifted off.
  • Expensive tack can be uniquely and discreetly marked with smart-water or selecta DNA . Make sure that you have photographs of all items with mark, noting colour and any distinguishing marks on it as proving that you owned that item in the first place is very important and easier to trace if items are seen on marketing web-sites.
  • Horse rugs can be marked with post codes or surnames in permanent ink.
  • Make sure that all tack rooms are securely locked with both padlocks and keypads and where possible security cameras on vulnerable areas and bars on windows if required.   
  • Horse trailers can have a variety of useful devices that can be purchased to keep your trailer safe whilst at home and away at events. There has been an incident in Wales whereby a trailer was removed from the towing vehicle in broad daylight, whilst it was parked up on a roadside location when the rider was out hunting. We recommend that you lock the hitch whilst on the ball hitch and use a wheel lock as well.
  • We recommend that you use one of the following devices: hitch locks, wheel clamps, DNA marking and spraying with paint (using a stencil) your post code or your name on the outside rear ramp so that if seen being towed, it’s more easily identifiable. Please make a note of the security number (VIN) that is inscribed on the front V chassis bar of Ifor Williams trailers. Also, take a photo of it with any distinguishing marks to prove that it’s your trailer.

At shows

  • Where possible, keep tack lockers closed and secure when not in attendance
  • Mark tack with smart water and display stickers on windows to highlight that items have been protectively marked.
  • Put all items of value away so as not visible.
  • Keep your dog secure in a locked-up lorry as dog theft is still very lucrative.
  • Look out for anyone acting suspiciously around your lorry or those parked close to you.   

Please contact your local Rural Crime Team or Neighbourhood Policing Team if you would like any Crime prevention advice as they have fully trained Officers who are able to visit you and offer comprehensive advice on all security matters.

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