Farmers warned to be vigilant in tractor losses
While the latest figures from the Garda Siochana Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV) unit indicate that the incidence of tractor theft has fallen by 40pc since last year, the gardai are still warning farmers to be extra vigilant.
"Tractors are worth €40,000-50,000 on average and devices such as trackers and immobilisers are very cheap in comparison," says Detective Sergeant Finbar Garland from the SMV unit.
The majority of tractors stolen from Irish farms are taken under the cover of darkness from farmyards, sheds and fields, according to the gardai.
Tractor identities are then changed and the machine is shipped across to Britain in curtain-sided trailers.
Britain, Romania and Poland are the top destinations for tractors stolen here, with many exported within 24 hours of being taken.
"Aside from the preventative measures such as locking the tractor, storing it out of sight and keeping it as near to the house as possible, these devices will greatly increase the chances of getting a stolen tractor back," he says.
"In some cases, when we can use a tracker to find a stolen tractor, we find an Aladdin's cave of other stolen tractors too.
"We would ask all farmers to take photos of their machines, record the serial numbers, chassis numbers and any identifying marks.