trailer theft

Trailer Theft Is On The Rise And Thieves Are Only Getting Smarter 

Trailer theft has increased by 69% in the first six months 2022 compared with 2021, and is expected to increase even further due to high demand and reports of trailers selling at inflated prices.  

The pandemic, global supply chain crisis, and steep increase in cost of living in the UK have all taken a toll on the country’s economy, so it comes as very little surprise to see that theft numbers have been going through the roof in the last few months. 

The construction industry, in particular, has been especially affected by these factors, and the sharp rise in tool, van, and trailer thefts is only the cherry on top of what is currently a very precariously positioned sector.  

The exceptionally high theft numbers include trailers of all varieties, but police have concluded that 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, since, as part of government plans to tackle the HGV driver shortage crisis, the car and trailer towing test was scrapped last year. This means that, since December 2021, most drivers have been legally able to tow a trailer up to 3500kg, without taking an extra test.  

For members of the rural community, theft of trailers is a very serious, as it can dramatically impact people’s livelihoods. In a bid to try to counter this trend, Opal ACE, the dedicated Agricultural and Construction Equipment (ACE) specialist police unit, hosted a policing forum on the subject of trailer theft last month.  

Police forces reported several instances of previous 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, in an attempt to identify the location of trailers to steal.  

Farmers are advised that, should they witness similar incidents, they should report them to the police as soon as possible, and should view such events as a possible indicator that an offence may soon take place.  

Not only do thieves target trailers because they are quick, easy to steal and not readily identifiable, but they know as well 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. 

What Can You Do About It? 

Multi-layered security is the best way to deter the theft of trailers. Owners should consider a variety of factors, including the security of the site, surveillance, forensic marking, trackers, as well as display obvious marking.  

A combination of these measures will hopefully go a long way in deterring thieves. To add to that, trailer owners should also check their insurance policies to ensure their locks and other accessories meet the appropriate specifications. 

Datatag offers its own brand of Trailer Security System, which can be purchased online and self-installed. 

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 at Datatag, comments on the soaring thefts:  

“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. 

In addition to this, the NFU Mutual, in collaboration with National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Services (NaVCIS), 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, installing CCTV and floodlights in addition to marking your machinery, trailers and tools with CESAR marking. 

What are your thoughts on this rise in trailer theft? How can it be stopped? Get in touch in the comments below and let us know how you’ve been affected. 

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