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TRACKER and Crimestoppers join forces to close the gate on rural crime

Date: 18 October 2012

Stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert TRACKER and independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers, are leading the fight against rural crime by launching a new campaign to help tackle what has become a serious and costly issue. This new project aims to raise awareness amongst the rural community as a whole.
The campaign will launch at Police Headquarters in Ipswich, Suffolk on October 19th 2012 and will feature Chief Constable Simon Ash, Ann Scott, Eastern Regional Manager for Crimestoppers and Stuart Chapman, head of TRACKER’s Police Relationship Team.
Rural crime is significantly denting the UK economy - an estimated £50 million to £70 million worth of plant and agricultural machinery is stolen nationally every year, and only 5% of this stolen property is ever recovered*. And the effects go beyond short-term monetary losses. Stealing valuable equipment has a lasting effect on its victims, who are unlikely to carry on their day-to-day work without them. Thieves see plant and agricultural equipment as easy to steal from outbuildings on farms due to limited surveillance and lack of street lighting away from urban areas..
Crimestoppers Regional Manager, Ann Scott, comments, “With TRACKER and Crimestoppers we are fighting back against rural crime. We will be attending agricultural shows to provide information, as well as distributing leaflets and posters across the local area to offer advice to the community.
“As a leading expert in SVR, TRACKER is the perfect partner for this campaign. By installing a TRACKER unit, farmers can take a proactive step in protecting themselves from the growing threat of vehicle and equipment theft. TRACKER systems are operated by all 52 police forces in the UK making it a vital weapon in the fight against crime, helping to catch opportunistic villains and organised gangs.”
TRACKER’s range of SVR products work like electronic homing devices. A covert transmitter is hidden in one of several dozen places around the agricultural vehicle or machinery. There is no visible aerial, so the thief won’t even know it’s there. Unlike other systems, TRACKER’s devices work no matter where the vehicle or equipment is hidden; even if taken abroad. TRACKER now also offers a battery powered solution designed specifically for plant and agricultural equipment that doesn’t have its own power source. Thatcham approved, TRACKER’s range of SVR solutions bring owners the ultimate protection against the permanent loss of their assets.
In addition, TRACKER recently launched the Mesh Network, which allows any vehicle fitted with TRACKER Plant to act as a listening device. When a vehicle fitted with a TRACKER Plant unit passes TRACKER SVR equipped vehicle that has been reported stolen, it automatically sends a signal to TRACKER providing the location of the stolen asset – even if it is hidden in a garage, container or underground car park. Both drivers are completely unaware that the stolen vehicle has been identified by TRACKER’s Mesh Network.
Stuart Chapman, head of TRACKER’s Police Relationship Team, explains, “Farmers are particularly vulnerable to criminal activity, and the huge cost of lost plant and agricultural machinery dwarves the small fraction of stolen equipment that is recovered. However, with over 90% of stolen vehicles fitted with a TRACKER device returned to their owners and 80% of these are recovered within 24hrs, installing a tracking unit is a highly effective way for farmers to safeguard their investment and livelihood.”
The rural crime campaign comes following the partnership of TRACKER and Crimestoppers earlier this year, which extended TRACKER’s strong network of relationships aimed at protecting the farming and agricultural industries. NFU Mutual, which estimates that approximately £1.5million of construction and agricultural machinery is stolen every week in the UK, offers members a 12.5% discount off premiums if they have a TRACKER device fitted. Farmers who also mark tractors and plant with CESAR database registration, along with fitting a TRACKER stolen vehicle recovery unit, are rewarded with a further 12.5% discount, giving a total saving of 25%
Crimestoppers’ Director of Operations, Roger Critchell, said: “The recession has increased pressure on rural communities and this makes it more important that the public, who may have vital knowledge, have a safe and anonymous way to give information through Crimestoppers. Recent successful campaigns to fight rural crime include Farmers Fighting Crime Initiative and Automatic Number Plate Recognition, which can track unfamiliar vehicles in rural areas. We looked at the threat of travelling criminals who commit rural theft, and the importance of information and intelligence. We are very proud of the results of these campaigns and intend to build on their success with TRACKER.
“We know that this new campaign will continue the good work already done in increasing awareness of this serious national problem. The public can ring us on our anonymous 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 to pass on information about crimes or fill in an anonymous online form on our website www.crimestoppers-uk.org."
Stuart Chapman concludes, “We are extremely excited to be working with Crimestoppers to try and finally turn back tide of farm machinery and equipment theft and put the power firmly in the hands of plant and agricultural machinery owners. We aim to use this campaign as the platform to help the rural community eradicate theft.”

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