Northern Irish farmers have been told to be on 'high alert' to visitors and to ask for identification following a recent increase in rural crime.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has received a high number of rural crime reports in recent weeks.
Criminals are not only taking advantage of the darker nights, but are visiting farms during the daytime posing as employees from agriculture firms.
The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) said farmers in the province should start to ask visitors for identification to "ensure their call is legitimate".
“I cannot stress enough how important it is for farmers to be aware of farm visitors and to ask for ID when someone arrives unexpectedly," said UFU deputy president, William Irvine.
"If farm visitors are genuine, they will be able to produce ID or will verify who they are working for through their organisation, and will not take offence at you asking for proof.
"If you do not know the visitor at hand or have the slightest doubt, they would want you to do so for your own safety and to put your mind at ease."
With darkness falling earlier, criminals also have a bigger window of opportunity to intrude on farms, with UFU saying on-farm security should be "reviewed and heightened".
Rural crime initiatives such as trailer marking and the freeze branding of livestock are also there for farmers to participate in, the union explained.
"Lock away all farm machinery and vehicles, especially those of high value, and never leave a tractor or quad sitting unattended with the keys in the ignition," Mr Irvine said.
"Record details of all farm machinery, take photographs and consider investing in tracking systems."
He added: "Most of all, look out for one another, especially elderly neighbours who live alone. If you notice suspicious behaviour, please do not hesitate to contact the PSNI no matter how minor it may seem.
"Preventing rural crime is a collective effort and we must all be vigilant.”