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Rural crime success as GPS dome thefts reduced to zero

Thefts of tractor GPS domes have been reduced to zero thanks to some covert and proactive work by Herefordshire Rural Crime officers.

GPS domes are a sophisticated piece of equipment, typically costing more than £10,000, used to guide tractors and combine harvesters.

Without them, farmers can face delays and disruption to harvesting and cultivating work, with long waits for replacement kit.

Thirteen GPS dome thefts were reported in Herefordshire in the nine-month period up to October 2023, at an estimated cost of more than £100,000.

However, at this point Rural Crime officers joined Op Walrus, a national operation run by Cambridgeshire Police to address GPS thefts. 

To tackle the issue, we visited arable farms and carried out crime prevention work with smart water and signage. One of our victims, at Ross-on-Wye, helped us run a covert operation for three months, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK. 

And crime prevention days, including SmartWater marking projects, delivered key messages to farmers at Hereford Market and Tillington Court which so far has reached some 300 farmers. 

This has seen significant progress and in the past nine months there has not been a single GPS dome stolen in Herefordshire LPA, bucking a national trend of increasing offences.

Police Constable Jim Cooke, of the Herefordshire Rural Crime Team, said: “The Herefordshire Rural Crime Team would like to thank the farming community for their support in tackling this area of criminality.

“It is clear that removing the domes at the end of the farming day and securing them overnight has had a dramatic impact in reducing offences.

“The covert policing operations and the crime prevention presentations, supported by Ali Parker from the NFU, has seen over 300 farmers receive crime prevention advice and smart water to protect valuable agricultural equipment including GPS Domes.

“Anyone who wants crime advice or help protecting their farm equipment should get in touch with us by calling PC James Cooke on 07773 053771 or RABO John Meek on 07790 951032.”

·  Farmers and agricultural workers can get advice on protecting their farm machinery at the link on our website Heavy machinery theft prevention | West Mercia Police .

·  For crimes in progress call 999. For non-emergencies you can report to us online at Report a crime | West Mercia Police



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