Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Rural and farming issues

Rural communities suffer from similar crime problems to those of urban areas, such as car crime, burglary, drug and alcohol problems and anti-social behaviour. They also have their own unique crime problems. These include:

  • The theft of expensive farm equipment, animals and diesel
  • Flytipping
  • Trespassing and criminal damage to crops and fields
  • Wildlife crime

How to keep your equipment and livestock safe

Trailers and horseboxes

Farm vehicles and trailers are targets for thieves and are usually left unsecured or in remote locations. Try to park all vehicles as close to your house as possible, preferably out of sight from nearby roads.

Consider installing a security light near to where you park your vehicles to deter thieves.

Wheel clamps can be used to prevent trailers, horseboxes and other vehicles being driven away by thieves. Security driveway posts or bollards can also be installed to provide additional security for vehicles.

There are several trailer-marking schemes, which use either your postcode or a unique number that is entered onto a database. Write down any chassis or serial numbers for trailers and towing equipment. Consider installing an alarm on trailers and horseboxes which are activated when they are moved.

If you have a lot of equipment parked on site, install a basic CCTV system with warning signs to deter thieves.

Place a concrete slab or something heavy across entrances without gates and lock all gates when not in use. This makes it harder for vehicles to be stolen.

Machinery and tools

Secure vehicles and equipment when not in use and remove keys from cars, tractors and other vehicles that are unattended.Never leave keys in the ignition or in close proximity to a vehicle.

Avoid leaving machinery in secluded areas or fields. Noticeably mark all of your machinery with your postcode and house/farm name. This not only acts as deterrent to thieves, but also helps return stolen property if it is then recovered. Write an inventory of tools, together with serial numbers, a photo and any identifying marks.

Always keep tools locked away when they are not in use. As well as being taken away, they could be used to gain access to secured premises.

Never leave ladders lying around near to your house or buildings because they only make it easier for thieves to gain access.

Fit alarms and security lights that can alert you to an intruder to outbuildings that contain equipment.


Livestock is a valuable asset to all farmers and because of this they are often targeted by thieves. There are precautions you can take to avoid being a victim of such crime:

  • Check the security of perimeter fencing or hedging. Keep it well maintained.
  • Do regular checks on livestock; keep a journal of all your livestock and their location.
  • Ear-tag or horn-brand and tattoo are ways to mark your postcode on livestock.
  • Take a photo of all animals and make notes of distinctive markings.
  • Be vigilant and always lock gates containing livestock.
  • Keep valuable livestock close to the farm.
  • Share information with other farmers and the police if you have seen anything suspicious.
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