Trailer theft has increased by 69% during 2022 compared with 2021 (January-June), and is expected to increase further due to high demand and reports of trailers selling at inflated prices.
This figure includes trailers of all varieties, but there has been a recent increase in the theft of agricultural trailers, including horse boxes and other livestock trailers.
Changes to towing rules are also thought to be behind the increase in trailer thefts, where, as part of government plans to tackle the HGV driver shortage crisis, the car and trailer towing test was scrapped last year. So since December 2021, most drivers have been legally able to tow a trailer up to 3500kg, without taking an extra test.
Theft of trailers is a serious issue for members of the rural community that can seriously impact livelihoods. Last month, Opal ACE, the dedicated Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) specialist police unit, hosted a policing forum surrounding trailer theft.
Police forces reported several instances of precursor events which included ‘suspicious activities’ seen on or near farms prior to thefts. Drones have been reported to be flying across sites prior to crimes occurring to identify the location of trailers to steal. Farmers are advised that should they witness similar incidents they should be reported to the police and should view such events as a possible indicator that an offence may soon take place.
Thieves know that it is relatively easy to change the identity of a trailer, and there are many organised gangs who are able to steal the vehicle from its location in a matter of minutes. Thieves frequently target trailers because they are quick and easy to steal and not easily identified.
Multi-layered security is the best way to deter the theft of trailers. Owners should consider the security of the site, surveillance, forensic marking, installing trackers, and also display obvious marking. A combination of these measures will go a long way in deterring thieves. Owners should also check their insurance policies to ensure their trailer locks etc meet the appropriate specification
The Datatag system consists of tiny electronic transponders or tags, as well as its Datadot® microdot security system. The trailer system also includes a pair of tamper-evident visible ID plates to further deter theft.
Kevin Howells, Managing Director Datatag commented on the soaring thefts, he said, “This is a vicious circle – with the unprecedented demand on vehicle components and trailer parts, delivery times on new trailers can run into months if not years pushing up prices of used trailers – criminals and fraudsters are taking full advantage of this which is why it’s important to securely permanently mark and register your trailer and to conduct careful identity inspections of second-hand trailers – walk away if the ID and chassis numbers are tampered with or missing and report your suspicions to the police.”
Datatag also offers trailer insurance which provides an exclusively tailored trailer insurance package that offers comprehensive insurance cover for all types of trailers. Cover can include, but is not limited to, box van trailers, flatbed trailers, transport trailers, tipping trailers, or horse trailers. The policy is so broad in coverage that it caters for almost any kind of trailer. Insurance discounts of up to 20% are applicable.
The NFU Mutual in collaboration with NaVCIS (National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Services) has recently produced a series of videos helping to combat rural crime. In the videos, Bob Henderson (NFU) talks to DC Chris Pigott (NaVCIS) about various measures rural businesses can take to prevent rural crime. Methods include keeping your security updated, CCTV and floodlights in addition to marking your machinery, trailers and tools with CESAR marking. The videos can be found on the CESAR website https://www.cesarscheme.org/news.php